Tennis

Youzhny moves into the quarterfinals

A SIGNIFICANT VICTORY: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark prepares to hit tennis balls to the fans after beating Maria Sharapova of Russia 6-3, 6-4 in the fourth round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, on Sept. 6, 2010.

A SIGNIFICANT VICTORY: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark prepares to hit tennis balls to the fans after beating Maria Sharapova of Russia 6-3, 6-4 in the fourth round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, on Sept. 6, 2010.   | Photo Credit: Kathy Willens

Russia's Mikhail Youzhny reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open with a 7-5, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Spain's Tommy Robredo on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Youzhny, the only Russian left in the men's draw, grabbed the first break of serve in the 11th game to take the first set.

He then had back-to-back breaks in the second to take a commanding two sets to love lead.

Games went with serve in the third set until 5-4 when Robredo finally managed to break, Youzhny hitting a forehand wide on break point.

Robredo looked the stronger player going into the fourth set but it was Youzhny who made the breakthrough in the fifth game.

He set up break point with a deft backhand sliced drop shot and then cashed in when his service return clipped the net and dropped on Robredo's side.

From 3-2, the Russian held serve three times to advance to the last eight.

Powering home

On Monday, Roger Federer, seeking his sixth U.S. Open title and seventh final appearance in a row, powered his way into his 26th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, beating 13th seed Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3 in a night match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Swiss second seed is now one shy of tying the all-time record Slam last-eight streak belonging to Jimmy Connors.

“I'm happy and really relieved I'm through,” Federer said. “I haven't lost a set so, obviously, I'm really happy. I'm finding a way to win, playing the right way, playing aggressively.”

“I've worked extremely hard. It's nice to see it paying off,” he said.

Federer, who last failed to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros in 2004, will next face Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling, who fired 15 aces in dispatching Spanish 21st seed Albert Montanes 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Mutual respect

“It's not going to be easy,” Federer said. “He's a great player. He's having a great last couple of years. He has always been a dangerous player but now he has been able to do it consistently.

Soderling has a 1-12 record against Federer after winning their most recent meeting in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros this year to snap Federer's astonishing run of 23 Grand Slam semifinals in a row.

“I think anybody can beat Roger, anybody at least in the top 10,” Soderling said. “He had a great year, but he's had some losses this year.”

Adding to the rivalry is the fact that Soderling was beaten in his first US Open quarterfinal last year by Federer.

“I will have to play really well to beat him,” Soderling said. “I know his game. He knows mine. I'm pretty sure I know how to play to have a chance to win but it's going to be extremely difficult.”

“I think it's always a very nice feeling to play against the world's best,” Soderling said.

“It's matches like that that you train for. It's matches like that I've been dreaming of playing since I started playing tennis. You know, playing at the big courts in the big tournaments. It's very fun.”

After winning the first set on a single break of serve, Federer, who beat Melzer in the fourth round at Wimbledon, saved the only two break points of the second set and then won the last three points of the tie-breaker to seize command of the match.

After an early exchange of breaks in the third set, Federer denied Melzer on four break points in the fifth game to hold, then broke for a 4-2 edge, saved three more break points to hold for a 5-2 edge and then served out the match one game later.

Third seed Novak Djokovic beat 19th seed Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 to book a semifinal date with 17th seed Gael Monfils, who beat Richard Gasquet in straight sets.

Sharapova loses

Women's top seed Caroline Wozniacki reached the quarterfinals in style beating former champion Maria Sharapova in a fourth-round blockbuster.

The 20-year-old Dane won 6-3, 6-4, but not before a fired-up Sharapova had brought out the best in her.

Wozniacki next plays the unseeded Dominika Cibulkova for a place in the semifinals as she bids to go one better than last year, when she lost in the final to Kim Clijsters.

Kanepi bounces back

Also through was Estonian 31st seed Kaia Kanepi, who bounced back from being blitzed in the first set to defeat Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer 0-6, 7-6(2), 6-1.

She will next go up against Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva of Russia who coasted past unseeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany winning 6-1, 6-2.

Leander Paes's U.S. Open campaign came to an end on Monday as he and Cara Black, the mixed doubles second seeds, suffered a 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal defeat to Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Mark Knowles.

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