TOKYO: The top-seeded pair of Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy won its sixth match on the trot to advance to the semifinals of the $8,69,000 Japan Open in Tokyo on Friday.
The Indo-Czech pair overcame a late challenge from Philipp Petzschner of Germany and Alexander Peya of Austria 6-2, 7-6(4) in one hour and eight minutes in the quarterfinals of the hard court event.
The Thailand Open winner next face Robert Kendrick of America and Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in the last-four stage. In the quarterfinals, Paes and Dlouhy broke their rivals twice and saved two breakpoints on their own serve to run away with the first set.
The second set saw a furious fight in which both the teams got one break each and ultimately the top seeded pair held its nerves in the tie-breaker to seal the issue in its favour.
In singles action, Juan Martin Del Potro upset top-seeded David Ferrer in straight sets to advance to the semifinals of the Japan Open.
Argentine Del Potro, seeded fifth, beat the Spaniard 6-1, 7-5, denying the defending champion a chance to repeat at the $869,000 ATP event.
“It was a very tough match against one of the best players in the world,” said Del Potro.
“He won here last year and has been playing well.”
“I tried a lot things,” said Ferrer. “But Juan Martin is very confident. He’s been winning a lot of matches lately and played very well today.”
Del Potro will play Richard Gasquet in the semifinals.
The fourth-seeded Frenchman defeated Germany’s Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 6-2.
American Andy Roddick, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, coasted to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Serbian Viktor Troicki to advance to a semifinal showdown with Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
Berdych, seeded ninth, upset third-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-0, 6-4.After cruising through the first set, Del Potro broke in the eighth game of the second set to take a 5-3 lead.
Ferrer got back on serve, but Del Potro broke in the final game, hitting a crosscourt forehand winner on match point.
Roddick, coming off winning the China Open on Sunday, was in control from the outset against Troicki, who advanced to the quarterfinals on Thursday when his opponent, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, retired from his third-round match with an abdominal strain.
“That’s the best I’ve played so far,” said Roddick. “I didn’t serve as well as I have the last couple of days but I played better from the baseline. Hopefully, I can put the two together on the weekend.”
In the $175,000 WTA event, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark coasted to a 6-4, 6-1 win over seventh-seeded Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand to reach the semifinals.
Wozniacki will face Slovakia’s Jarmila Gajdosova in the semis. Gajdosova — in the draw as a lucky loser — beat Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 7-5.
Mathieu in last eight
At Metz, fourth-seeded Paul-Henri Mathieu broke Romain Jouan’s serve three times in a 6-3, 6-3 win to reach the quarterfinals of the Open de Moselle on Thursday.
Mathieu, the highest remaining seed in the tournament, did not face a single break point against him, while Jouan struggled to contain Mathieu’s big returns.
However, Mathieu was unhappy at playing in the evening and complained of feeling tired.
“I prefer to play earlier during the day, since I always feel like I have more energy in the afternoon,” Mathieu said.
“I’m happy to be playing well again after a difficult period during the summer.”
At Stuttgart, World No.3 Dinara Safina of Russia beat Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 6-1, 7-6 in the second round of the Porsche Grand Prix on Thursday to set up a quarterfinal against Venus Williams.
Japan Open: Men: Singles: Quarterfinals: Juan Martin Del Potro bt David Ferrer 6-1, 7-5; Richard Gasquet bt Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 6-2; Andy Roddick bt Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4; Tomas Berdych bt Fernando Gonzalez 6-0, 6-4.
Men’s doubles: Quarterfinals: Leander Paes & Lukas Dlouhy bt Philipp Petzschner & Alexander Peya 6-2, 7-6(4).
Women: Quarterfinals: Caroline Wozniacki bt Tamarine Tanasugarn (6-4, 6-1; Jarmila Gajdosova bt Klara Zakopalova 7-5, 7-5; Kaia Kanepi bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6(4), 7-6(1); Aleksandra Wozniak bt Samantha Stosur 7-5, 6-3.
ATP Open de Moselle: Second round: Eduardo Schwank bt Victor Hanescu 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-3; Adrian Mannarino bt Rik de Voest 6-4, 7-5; Radek Stepanek bt Michael Llodra, France 6-7(5), 6-1, 7-6(0); Paul-Henri Mathieu bt Romain Jouan 6-3, 6-3; Marc Gicquel bt Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 7-6(4).
WTA Porsche Grand Prix: Second round: Vera Zvonareva bt Marion Bartoli 6-2, 6-0; Nadia Petrova bt Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-1; Dinara Safina bt Tsvetana Pironkova 6-1, 7-6(6); Venus Williams bt Kateryna Bondarenko 6-4, 6-2; Jelena Jankovic bt Alona Bondarenko 6-2, 6-0. — Agencies