Almagro into Houston semis

Top seed Nicolas Almagro secured a berth in the semifinals at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship.

The sweet-swinging Spanish star got past seventh-seeded Italian Paolo Lorenzi in 6-4, 6-4 fashion at River Oaks Country Club. Almagro popped nine aces in the 1-hour, 21-minute victory.

Up next for the Spaniard will be American wild card Rhyne Williams.

Williams reached his first-ever ATP semifinal by outlasting Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 7-6 (7-1), 1-6, 6-4 in just under 2 1/2 hours on Day 5. Williams is a 22-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn., and was a two-time All- America at the University of Tennessee.

The 2013 Houston champ will collect $82,300. This marks the lone ATP clay- court event in the U.S.