Thursday, February 14, 2013

2012 SAP finalists to meet in quarters

   In a rematch of last year’s final, Milos Raonic and Denis Istomin will meet in Friday’s quarterfinals at the SAP Open in San Jose.
   Raonic, the top seed and two-time defending champion from Canada, improved his SAP Open record to 10-0 with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over 34-year-old American Michael Russell in the second round Thursday at HP Pavilion.
   Istomin, the sixth seed from Uzbekistan, outlasted 2007 semifinalist Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2.
   Raonic, 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters), defeated Istomin 7-6 (3), 6-2 for the 2012 title.
   “I’m definitely comfortable here,” Raonic, who drew a first-round bye this year, told reporters. “I made a big emphasis on starting aggressive today, especially being the first match of the tournament and his second match of the tournament. I was able to play well.”
   Meanwhile, it appears Bob and Mike Bryan will never win the doubles title in San Jose, 20 miles down the freeway from their alma mater, Stanford. The world's No. 1 team, which won its record 13th Grand Slam title last month in the Australian Open, fell to Aussie wild cards Lleyton Hewitt and Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-7 tiebreak in the quarterfinals.
   The Bryans made their 10th appearance in the tournament, which will be replaced on the calendar by Rio de Janeiro beginning in 2014 after 125 years in Northern California. The 34-year-old identical twins reached the final once, losing to fellow Stanford alumni Scott Lipsky and David Martin in 2008.  
   Lipsky, who also won the 2011 SAP Open doubles title with Rajeev Ram, joined the Bryans on the sideline Thursday. The third-seeded team of Lipsky and Mexico's Santiago Gonzalez lost to unseeded Mikhail Elgin of Russia and Istomin 6-4, 6-4.
   No. 3 singles seed Sam Querrey, who had a bye in the first round, narrowly avoided his third straight opening-round loss in the SAP Open. The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) native of nearby San Francisco edged the 31-year-old Hewitt, formerly ranked No. 1 in the world and the 2002 SAP Open champion, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 7-6 (4).
   Hewitt double-faulted twice in the third-set tiebreaker, including on match point. Querrey pounded 20 aces in the match.
   In 2010, Querrey came within a third-set tiebreaker against Andy Roddick of reaching the SAP Open singles final and won the doubles title with Mardy Fish.
   Querrey will play Colombian veteran Alejandro Falla in the quarterfinals. Falla, the SAP Open doubles runner-up with Xavier Malisse in 2011, upset the seventh-seeded Matosevic 6-4, 6-4.  
  Two players in their 30s reached the quarterfinals in the bottom half of the draw. Fourth-seeded Tommy Haas, 34, of Germany will meet American wild card Steve Johnson, and the eighth-seeded Malisse, 32, of Belgium will face second-seeded John Isner of Tampa, Fla.
   Haas reached No. 2 in the world in 2002, advanced to the SAP Open semifinals in 2005 and won the 2009 doubles title in San Jose with Radek Stepanek.
   Johnson, who turned pro last summer after leading USC to four straight NCAA team titles and winning the last two NCAA singles crowns, dispatched fellow American Tim Smyczek 6-3, 6-3 to reach his first ATP World Tour quarterfinal.
   Malisse gained the San Jose singles semis in 2001, won the French Open men’s doubles title in 2004 with countryman Olivier Rochus and took last year’s SAP Open doubles crown with since-retired Mark Knowles. 
SAP OPEN
In San Jose
Second-round singles
   Milos Raonic (1), Canada, def. Michael Russell, United States, 6-2, 7-5.
   Denis Istomin (6), Uzbekistan, def. Benjamin Becker, Germany, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2.
   Sam Querrey (3), United States, def. Lleyton Hewitt, Australia, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 7-6 (4).
   Alejandro Falla, Colombia, def. Marinko Matosevic (7), Australia, 6-4, 6-4.
   Steve Johnson, United States, def. Tim Smyczek, United States, 6-3, 6-3.
   Xavier Malisse (8), Belgium, def. Matthew Ebden, Australia, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (1).
Doubles quarterfinals
   Mikhail Elgin, Russia, and Denis Istomin, Uzbekistan, def. Santiago Gonzalez, Mexico, and Scott Lipsky (3), United States, 6-4, 6-4.
   Alejandro Falla and Robert Farah, Colombia, def. Rik de Voest, South Africa, and Tommy Haas, Germany, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 10-6 tiebreak.
   Lleyton Hewitt and Marinko Matosevic, Australia, def. Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (1), United States, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-7 tiebreak.
   Xavier Malisse, Belgium, and Frank Moser (4), Germany, def. Matthew Ebden, Australia, and Michael Russell, United States, 6-3, 6-3.
Friday's schedule
Center Court
   (Beginning at 11:30 a.m. PST)
   Tommy Haas (4), Germany, vs. Steve Johnson, United States. 
   (Not before 2 p.m.)
   John Isner (2), United States, vs. Xavier Malisse (8), Belgium.
(Not before 7 p.m.)
   Milos Raonic (2), Canada, vs. Denis Istomin (6), Uzbekistan.
   Sam Querrey (3), United States, vs. Alejandro Falla, Colombia.
   Lleyton Hewitt and Marinko Matosevic, Australia, vs. Mikhail Elgin, Russia, and Denis Istomin, Uzbekistan.

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