Sun, Jun 12, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Hewitt out as Germans make last four in Halle

SLOW PROGRESS:The loss is likely to push former world No. 1 Hewitt out of the top 100 in the ATP rankings as he seeks to make a comeback after undergoing ankle surgery

AFP, HALLE, GERMANY

Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova returns to Germany’s Sabine Lisicki during the fifth day of the WTA AEGON tournament at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham, England, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Defending champion Lleyton Hewitt has been dumped out of Halle’s ATP grasscourt tournament after he went down in straight sets to Philipp Kohlschreiber in Friday’s quarter-final.

Kohlschreiber is into Halle’s semi-finals for the fourth time in his career after securing a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win over the former world No. 1 in exactly 90 minutes.

The German smashed down 14 aces, compared with the Australian’s nine, in a hard-fought match and the defeat means Hewitt, who is making his comeback after ankle surgery, is now set to drop out of the top 100 in the ATP rankings.

“Today, I could see an improvement in my game — everything was just fine and I often had a bit of luck on my side,” Kohlschreiber said.

“I couldn’t do much wrong. This match was good — although he is coming back from injury, Lleyton Hewitt is still one of the best players in the world. Now the bar has been set high. The next game will be hard, no matter who is on the other side of the net. Form on the day will decide the match,” he said.

It was Kohlschreiber’s strong serve which carried him to victory and he was scheduled to play Gael Monfils, ranked ninth in the world, in yesterday’s semi-final after the Frenchman beat Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-4 in little over an hour.

After the withdrawal of world No. 3 Roger Federer on Monday, Tomas Berdych became the top seed and the winner of the 2007 tournament had few problems as he enjoyed a 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 win over fifth seed Viktor Troicki.

The firm surface at Halle is favoring the strong hitters and this was a battle of the big guns as Berdych smashed down 13 aces, compared with the Serbian’s 11, as both players contributed to 14 aces in the first set alone.

Berdych will meet Philipp Petzschner in his semi-final after the German booked his place by knocking out eighth-seeded Canadian newcomer Milos Raonic.

In a tough last-eight match, Petzschner needed nearly two hours to prevail over 20-year-old Raonic and seal a 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 win.

“It was a tight match on a knife edge. I nearly won it in the second set,” said Petzschner, who also reached the semi-finals here last year.

EDGBASTON CLASSIC

AFP, BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM

Chinese third seed Peng Shuai reached the semi-finals of the Edgbaston Classic on Friday with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over Marina Erakovic of New Zealand.

Peng will take on Sabine Lisicki in the last four after the German enjoyed a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 win over Magdalena Rybarikova, the Slovakian 14th seed.

Second seed Ana Ivanovic progressed to the last four with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Croatian veteran Mirjana Lucic. Ivanovic will now face Daniela Hantuchova after the Slovakian Hantuchova, seeded fourth, overcame Alison Riske of the US 6-2, 6-4.

“I’m very happy with the win,” said Ivanovic, who will be playing in her first semi-final of the year.

Ivanovic, a former French Open champion, looked to be back in Grand Slam-contending form after winning Bali to conclude last year and then rising to No.17 in the world, her highest ranking since October 2009, but her momentum stalled this season, losing early at several events, including both majors so far.

However, in three matches last week in Birmingham, she has yet to lose more than four games in a set.

“I’m just enjoying competing again,” Ivanovic said. “I have a lot of nice memories on grass courts. Since the first match this week, I’ve felt good about myself and my game. I’m just trying to enjoy it while it lasts and have fun out there.”

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