Josh Graetz, of Albury, was at full stretch to get this ball back over the net.
Josh Graetz, of Albury, was at full stretch to get this ball back over the net.

Albury’s Brandon Vescio has received a free pass into the semi-finals of the Victorian Grasscourt Championships after his opponent Matthew Hicks was forced to withdraw from the match due to injury.

Vescio was leading in the third set, with the score at 1-6 7-5 2-1, when Hicks decided it was best he quit the match before doing himself any further injury.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” Hicks said.

“At one point I just landed on my knee really badly and I knew straight away that was it.

“I wanted to play on because when it happened I was already up in the second set.

“I thought maybe if I could just keep holding serve I’d be all right, but after Brandon broke me I couldn’t do anything off my left knee.

“After six matches in three days, it begins to tally up.

“What’s really annoying is that I first hurt it here last year, so I’m starting to think this competition is a bad omen for me,” Hicks said wryly.

“It was disappointing to end like that, but I wish Brandon the best for the rest of the tournament.”

Vescio said he was fortunate Hicks retired as he was being beaten.

“Grass is my least favourite to play on, and I don’t have a grass court game at all,” Vescio said.

“He loves the grass and was chipping it around a lot, which was starting to hurt me.

“But then his knee flared up in the second set. To his credit he tried to play on, but it just wasn’t working for him.

“If he didn’t get injured I probably wouldn’t have won the match.”

Vescio, 21, is the top seed for the men’s singles event but isn’t letting the pressure get to him.

“I’m kind of used to it by now as I get a seeding in most competitions with the ranking I’ve got from the Australian Money Tournaments,” Vescio said.

“But I’m used to losing — everyone is — so it doesn’t bother me too much.”

With that in mind, Vescio said he was going to give it all he had in the semi-final.

“I’ll try and play more aggressive as I’ve got nothing to lose,” he said.

Vescio will take on Margaret Court Cup champion Josh Barrenechea, who defeated Nathan Doney 6-2 6-1.

In other matches, Albury’s Jade Culph also made the semi-finals, while Brock Dixon, Freddy Myers and Isaac Dallinger were all knocked out of the under-14 competition.