Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ivan Ljubicic Reaches quarterfinals in Austria

Mario Ancic
Ivan Ljubicic Reaches quarterfinals in Austria

Third-seeded Croatian Ivan Ljubicic booked his spot in the quarterfinals at the Hypo Group Tennis International on Wednesday with a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory over Spaniard Ivan Navarro. The 29-year-old Ljubicic is now through to his second quarterfinal at the event, having reached this stage in 2001 when it was held in St. Poelten.

It will be World No. 29 Ljubicic’s third ATP quarterfinal appearance of the season, having finished runner-up in Zagreb (l. to Stakhovsky) and reached the semifinals in Doha (l. to Wawrinka). He now improves to 12-9 for the year, while No. 122 Navarro, who won just his second ATP match of the season with his round one win, drops to 2-5.

World No. 97 Robby Ginepri saved two match points as he upset seventh-seeded Croatian Mario Ancic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8) in a first round match carried over from Sunday.

The victory snaps a three match-losing streaking for Ginepri and marks his first clay court victory of the year. The 25-year-old American began the year well, reaching three semifinals in Delray Beach (l. to Blake), San Jose (l. to Stepanek) and Las Vegas (l. to Anderson). However, since then he had won just one ATP-level match.

The 24-year-old Ancic, who was a quarterfinalist on his debut in Pörtschach in 2003 (l. to Sanchez), now slips to 18-8 for the season.

Ginepri now improves to 11-6 for the season and next faces Belgian Olivier Rochus, who defeated Polish qualifier Michal Przysiezny 6-2, 6-4.

Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver was the first player to advance to the quarterfinals after upsetting fifth-seeded American Sam Querrey 6-1, 6-3. It is the first time this season that the World No. 109 has reached an ATP quarterfinal; the 22-year-old improves to 6-4 for the season. World No. 41 Querrey captured his first ATP title in Las Vegas earlier in the season. He drops to 18-11.

Second-seeded Argentine and defending champion Juan Monaco progressed to the second round after his compatriot Carlos Berlocq was forced to retire with a right hamstring injury when trailing 7-6(7), 6-4.

Making his third appearance in Pörtschach, the 24-year-old Monaco reached the quarterfinals (l. to Horna) on his debut in 2006 before capturing the title on his second visit last year, defeating Gael Monfils in the final. Currently No. 14 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Monaco was a runner-up at Vina del Mar (l. to Gonzalez) earlier in the season. He now improves to 20-10 for the season and faces Jiri Vanek next.

Eighth-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase progressed to the second round, serving eight aces and converting three of seven break points in defeating Argentine Sergio Roitman 7-6(7), 6-4 in 1hr., 33min. World No. 58 Haase, who is making his debut in Pörtschach, has reached four quarterfinals this season in Chennai, Rotterdam, Zagreb and Valencia. He now improves to 14-8 and next will face Jurgen Melzer.

Russian Igor Kunitsyn upset fourth-seeded American Mardy Fish in a first round clash carried over from Monday, firing six aces and converting five of six break point chances to win 6-1, 6-1 after 54 minutes.

World No. 96 Kunitsyn now improves to 4-4 for the season, his highlight being a quarterfinal appearance in Delray Beach (l. to Blake) in February. No. 39 Fish, who reached his second ATP Masters Series final in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic) in March, now drops to 16-10 for the year.

In the second round, Kunitsyn will face Slovakian qualifier Blaz Kavcic, who battled from a set down to defeat Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3). It is the World No. 357’s first victory in an ATP main draw.

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AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca