Thu, Jan 09, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Del Potro, Stosur eke out wins in Sydney, Hobart

AP, SYDNEY

Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro returns to Nicolas Mahut of France in their Apia International men’s singles match in Sydney, Australia, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Former US Open champions Juan Martin del Potro and Samantha Stosur rallied to win their second-round matches against tough French opponents yesterday at Australian Open warm-up tournaments.

Del Potro beat Nicolas Mahut 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the Apia International in Sydney, while Stosur saved two match points and eked out a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (9/7) win over Kristina Mladenovic at the Hobart International.

Stosur lost all three of her singles matches at the Hopman Cup team event last week and is looking for some confidence heading into her home Grand Slam at Melbourne Park, where she has never advanced past the fourth round.

“Any win’s a good win, but when you’ve got to really tough it out and battle through a long match ... you’re probably holding your nerve pretty well,” Stosur said.

The Australian Open begins on Monday.

Earlier, former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova advanced to the semi-finals of the women’s event in Sydney with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 victory over Lucie Safarova.

Kvitova, the second seed, next faces Tsvetana Pironkova in the semi-finals after the Bulgarian’s 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 win over Sara Errani of Italy.

In the late match, Madison Keys advanced to the semi-finals when Bethanie Mattek-Sands retired with a lower-back injury while trailing 3-2 in the first set.

Mattek-Sands, who beat top seed Agnieszka Radwanska on Tuesday, said she still hoped to play in the Australian Open.

In other men’s matches in Sydney, defending champion Bernard Tomic of Australia reached the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia and Marinko Matosevic defeated third seed Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 6-4. Alexandr Dolgopolov beat second seed Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 6-2, 6-2, Denis Istomin defeated No. 7 Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-4 and No. 4 Dmitry Tursunov knocked out Lukas Rosol 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

In the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles top seeds Italian duo Errani and Roberta Vinci knocked out Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Liezel Huber of the US 6-3, 6-2.

In Hobart, defending champion Elena Vesnina retired from her second-round match with a back injury. Spanish qualifier Estrella Cabeza Candela was leading the match 4-6, 6-2, 4-1 when Vesnina quit.

Second seed Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium fared better, beating wild-card Storm Sanders of Australia 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5).

At the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand, wild-card Jack Sock of the US pulled off the biggest win of his career when he beat second seed Tommy Hass 6-4, 6-4 in the second round, while Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun also advanced.

The 21-year-old Sock is 14 years younger than Haas and his ranking is nearly 90 places lower than the 12th-ranked German, but Sock started strongly and got early breaks in both sets.

Sock next faces Roberto Batista Agut in the quarter-finals after the Spaniard beat sixth seed Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 6-4.

Lu rallied from a set down to defeat Bradley Klahn of the US 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3 and next faces qualifier Steve Johnson of the US, who beat Marcos Baghdatis 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 in a first-round match held over from Tuesday because of rain and then knocked out fourth seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa 7-5, 6-4.

David Ferrer, the No. 1 seed and defending champion, beat Donald Young of the US 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-1. The Spaniard is seeking his fifth Auckland singles title.

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