Monday, December 10, 2012

Hewitt into Stockholm Open quarter-finals

Updated October 18, 2012 08:43:10

Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt reached his first quarter-final since July when he defeated eighth-seeded Finn Jarkko Nieminen 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-4 at the Stockholm Open on Thursday (AEDT).

Former world number one Hewitt dropped serve six times, but capitalised on three of his four break points in the decisive set to improve to a 5-0 record against Nieminen.

The 31-year-old last made the quarter-finals on his way to the Newport championship match in July where he was runner-up to John Isner.

Nieminen was looking to reach the Stockholm quarter-finals for a seventh straight year and eighth time overall. He was a finalist in 2001, 2006 and 2011.

In other second round results, Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis ousted German fourth-seed Florian Mayer in three sets, winning 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Spanish third seed Nicolas Almagro had it easier against Romanian Marius Copil, winning in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), while Russia's Mikhail Youzhny beat local hope Patrik Rosenholm 6-0, 6-2.

Meanwhile in the Austrian Open, top seed Juan Martin Del Potro marked his return to tennis after a month-long injury absence with a three-hour victory over German qualifier Daniel Brands to reach the third round.

The Argentine defeated Brands 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6) in a match featuring 59 aces and no breaks of serve.

The match point - Del Potro's second - was decided by the Hawk-Eye electronic system.

"If I'd known I'd have to start with a three-hour win, I would have stayed home," joked the 2011 finalist, who was playing for the first time since suffering a wrist injury in September's Davis Cup semi-finals.

"We both served so well, it was a really tough match," added Del Potro, who kept alive his hopes of booking a place in the eight-man World Tour Finals next month in London which wrap up the ATP season.

The Argentine top seed struggled to find any rhythm in the first set, relying on his serve to stay out of trouble against Brands, the world number 111 who made the semi-finals in 2011.

The German won the opening set only to see Del Potro return the favour in the second, claiming it on a fifth set point.

The final set was also tight before Del Potro pulled it out in another tiebreaker.

"I guess it was a good match to start. I need to count on my serve in the next one. I will have to work on my returns though," said Del Potro.

"I had a few chances today which were hard to take, it all came down to the last point."

Two-time champion Juergen Melzer suffered his earliest Vienna defeat in five years as the fourth seed went out in the second round, losing to Gilles Muller, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4).

The result at the Stadthalle was a huge disappointment for the newly-married 31-year-old, his ranking down to 37 after a number of injuries including a hip problem.

Melzer admitted at the start of the week that he was going into the European indoor season with a loss of form, but remained encouraged by his recent Beijing quarter-final run.

But the Austrian was unable to cope with 18 aces from Muller, a Luxembourg journeyman about to turn 30 without a career title.

Dominic Thiem, 19, who ended the career of comeback king Thomas Muster a year ago at the same venue, defeated Slovak Lukas Lacko 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 to keep home hopes alive.


Tags: tennis, sport, sweden, finland, australia

First posted October 18, 2012 08:19:01

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