Sat, Feb 03, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Blake gains his 200th ATP match victory

FEELING OLD The top seed's straightforward win earned him a quarter-final clash against Florian Mayer in the Delray Beach tournament in Florida

AP , DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA

James Blake readies for a return to Scoville Jenkins in their match on Thursday at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Florida.

PHOTO: AP

Top-seeded James Blake reached 200 career ATP Tour match victories on Thursday night, beating Scoville Jenkins 6-1, 6-3 in Florida's Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

"It makes me feel old and with relative success, which is a good feeling," Blake said. "To win 200 matches means there's probably a few I've actually forgotten, which is something I never would have believed. It's nice to know I've beaten some quality players."

The win moved Blake, who has not faced a break point in two matches in the tournament, into the quarter-finals against Germany's Florian Mayer.

Third-seed Xavier Malisse raised questions about the tournament's new hybrid round-robin format. Malisse, the 2004 Delray Beach champion, actually reached the quarterfinals despite losing to Rainer Schuettler 6-7 (4), 7-6 (1), 6-3.

As it worked out, Malisse, Schuettler and Alejandro Falla all went 1-1 in their round-robin group, but Malisse ended up winning three sets while the other two players only won two, which was enough to give the Belgian the edge.

Malisse went into the match with the knowledge that he only needed to win one set to stay in the tournament.

"It's just I knew I had to win one set and I won the first set and there was no motivation anymore," said Malisse, who will play Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the quarterfinals.

"It's different tennis. It's a different mentality. You win a set and what are you playing for, there's nothing to it anymore," Malisse said.

Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Haas and eighth-seeded Vince Spadea will face each other in the quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Haas, the defending champion at Delray Beach, secured his quarterfinal berth after beating US teen Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5. Haas was 2-0 in the round-robin portion of the tournament.

Spadea, who reached the finals here in 2004, moved into the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 6-4 over another teen, Ryan Sweeting.

"This is my hometown, so [the round-robin] was a perfect set-up for me," Spadea said of Boca Raton because the new format guaranteed him two matches at his hometown tournament.

"This is like my territory and I'm looking for something to do when I'm home," he said.

Earlier in the day, fourth-seeded Benjamin Becker of Germany ended University of Florida freshman Jesse Levine's visit to Delray Beach, beating the teen 6-3, 6-3 for a 2-0 record and a spot in the quarter-finals.

Becker will face 2002 Delray Beach champion Davide Sanguinetti of Italy in the quarter-finals.

Sanguinetti beat Amer Delic 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

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