Sat, Feb 15, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Taiwanese No. 1 Lu storms back to make quarters

AFP, MEMPHIS, Tennessee

Fourth seed Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan and third seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia both stormed back for three-set victories to reach the quarter-finals of the US National Indoor Tennis Championships on Thursday.

Taiwanese No. 1 Lu rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over US qualifier Denis Kudla, while Hewitt, a former world No. 1, recovered to defeat Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 1-6, 6-2, 6-0.

Lu, 30, set up a quarter-final clash with another American qualifier, Alex Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov toppled eighth seed Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1).

Lu will be hoping to improve on his career-best season start.

He is 8-2 this year and reached his first ATP Tour final last month in Auckland, New Zealand.

Hewitt converted five of his six break chances over the final two sets, wrapping up the victory in 1 hour, 31 minutes.

He has now won three of his five career matches against Baghdatis.

The 32-year-old Australian reached the quarter-finals in Memphis for the third time in four appearances and next faces 35-year-old Michael Russell of the US.

Hewitt is in search of his second title of the year.

He opened the 2014 season with a triumph in Brisbane, where he beat Swiss great Roger Federer in the final.

Croatian Ivo Karlovic pounded 19 aces past second-seeded Feliciano Lopez in beating the Spaniard in straight sets to reach the last eight.

Karlovic, ranked 80th in the world, needed 69 minutes to defeat Lopez 7-6 (7/2), 6-4.

While Lopez, runner-up to Japan’s Kei Nishikori in Memphis last year, was denied a return to the final, Karlovic takes on rising US talent Jack Sock, while defending champion Nishikori — the top seed at an ATP Tour tournament for the first time — faces Alex Bogomolov of the US.

ABN AMRO WORLD

AFP, ROTTERDAM, Netherlands

Top-seeded duo Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray progressed to the quarter-finals of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Thursday, keeping alive the prospect of a meeting in the final.

Del Potro, the No. 1 seed, moved safely through with a victory over unseeded Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) in 86 minutes, his win featuring 10 aces.

Meanwhile, second-seeded wild-card Murray had a tougher time before eventually overcoming promising Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Murray found himself fending off a 20-year-old who is the youngest player ranked inside the top 125 and was a quarter-finalist last season in Kitzbuehel and Vienna.

“It was an unbelievably tough battle,” the Scot said. “There were a lot of long points. He was hitting some huge shots, going for the lines. He had some really big winners. His game is fun to watch, but it’s no fun to play against at all. I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of him.”

Murray started the evening with a double-break, but the contest turned into a struggle lasting almost 2 hours, 30 minutes.

Thiem recovered from the loss of the opening set to break in the eighth game of the second and level the match, before Murray gained some control back in the third set.

The Wimbledon champion won a monster second game in which Thiem saved three break points and the contest finally ended seven games later on Murray’s first match point.

The Scot next faces Marin Cilic, a former top 10 player who he has defeated in 10 of 11 previous meetings.

Argentine Del Potro had it much easier on court, but admitted that he is still competing with some pain in his fragile left wrist, which has been under the care of his doctor in Minnesota since late last month.

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