Novak Djokovic reached his first semifinal of the season as German opponent Florian Mayer withdrew with a hamstring problem a day before their quarterfinal at the ABN-AMRO World Tennis.

It was the second time this week that the Serb top-seed had copped a break in the wake of a first round retirement from Sergiy Stakhovsky with a knee injury in their match.

“Of course you never want to get a win this way, but I’ll take it the way it is,” said Djokovic, after winning his scheduled second round encounter with Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland 6-4, 6-2.

“I felt confident on my service games and took enough of my opportunities on his. I did what I needed to win and that’s what matters,” said the world number two.

The withdrawal was a blow for Mayer, who was to have played his first quarter final since January 2008.

Djokovic now has a day to prepare for a match against the winner from French third seed Gael Monfils and 2007 champion Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

Monfils took revenge for a 2009 Davis Cup loss as he put out Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-2.

The 2007 winner Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, seeded sixth, took a step closer to a potential second title at the Ahoy arena with his 6-4, 6-4 win over qualifier Marsel Ilhan of Turkey.

Second seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia earned his place in the last eight, beating Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-3, 6-2.

Newly promoted world number two Djokovic last met Chuidinelli, 54th, in the Australian Open second round.

The Serb carved out a four-set win in that meeting and left nothing to chance in the Netherlands with his second round success in 90 minutes producing a victory in which the winner never faced a break point.

Monfils, a Johannesburg semifinalist a week ago is packing in the air miles with a globe-trotting schedule during the first two months of the season. He is due to fly to a clay event in Acapulco in a week and then return to Europe for his second career Davis Cup appearance for France.

That March 5-7 tie will be indoors on hardcourt against Germany. World number 13 Monfils said the quick-change surface switch should not be a problem.

He added that he’s playing the Mexican event as pure strategy, with the top eight in the world all competing in Dubai during the same week.

“Even if it’s far from Europe and on clay, I will have better chances to win in Acapulco,” said the youngster.

Monfils was pleased to get past the 82nd—ranked de Bakker after losing to him in the Davis Cup play-offs five months ago.

“I had confidence, I played much better than in the first round,” said the Frenchman. “I was solid and able to run him around a lot, that was my game plan.” Julien Benneteau reached the last eight for France as he defeated German Michael Berrer 6-4, 6-4.

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