With the Year’s first Grand Slam concluded, the next round of action began in two European cities and at another venue in South America. While many of the top stars have abstained from participation after the grueling two weeks of tennis action at Melbourne, the field is still quite rich at Montpellier, Zagreb and Quito, three venues, where ATP250 events are under progress. In all venues, the quarterfinal line-ups were decided on Thursday night. At Montpellier, Philipp, Kohlschreiber, Joao Sousa, Steve Darcis, Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet, Jerzy Janowicz, Denis Istomin and defending champion Gael Monfils are already in the last eight. Just as the Montpellier tournament is full of French tennis stars; the Zagreb event began with the abundance of the Croats until the second round. But for the first time in the ten-year history, Zagreb Open has no Croatian players in quarterfinals. The last one was Ivan Dodig, who was beaten by Marcel Granollers. Earlier, in a sensational upset, top seed and defending champion, Ivo Karlovic was knocked out by a resurgent Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus. Five out of eight matches leading to the QF were decided in three sets. Besides Baghdatis, the seven other quarterfinalists at Zagreb are; Mikhail Youzhny, Recardas Berkanis, Igor Sijsling, Marcel Granollers, Andreas Seppi, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Viktor Troicki. Despite the fact that the Ecuador Open is merely an inaugural edition of an ATP250 event, a host of stars descended at Quito. These big names are; Feliciano Lopez, who is the top seed; Santiago Giraldo; Fernando Verdasco; Martin Klizan; Paolo Lorenzi, Thomas Belucci etc. As of last Thursday, Lopez, Lajovic, Lorenzi, Verdasco, Estrella Burgos, Klizan, Bellucci and Albert Montanes had made it to the quarterfinals.
At Montpellier, where the 28th edition of Open Sud de France is underway, three Frenchmen; Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon figure in last 8. In the first all-French second round match, second seed Gilles Simon beat compatriot Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-3 to book his spot in the QF. Breaking Roger-Vasselin five times, Simon took the match in a 78-minute match. Simon’s QF opponent is Poland’s 5th seed Jerzy janowicz, who had a tough match against Frenchman Benoit Paire, before coming through 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in 94 minutes. 4th seeded, Richard Gasquet overcame Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-3, 7-6. It wasn’t easy for Gasquet as he was down 3-6 in the second set tie-break but managed to reel off five straight points for the win. Gasquet’s QF opponent will be sixth seed Uzbek Denis Istomin, who defeated Israel’s Dudi Sela 7-6, 6-2. Germany’s 3rd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber battled from a set down to finally prevail over Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 3-6, 7-6, 6-4. For a place in the semifinal, Kohlschreiber will have to beat Portuguese 7th Seed Joao Sousa, who reached QF by defeating Germany’s Tobias Kamke 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in nearly a 2-hour fight. Qualifier Steve Darcis booked his place in the QF by defeating Belgium’s Jarrko Nieminen 6-2, 7-6. Darcis will next meet reigning champion Gael Monfils, who beat compatriot Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 7-6.
In PBZ Zagreb Indoors, home viewers felt cheated as the QF line up didn’t have a single Croat. After Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis caused sensation by shocking the top seed Ivo Karlovic, the last Croatian hope was Ivan Dodig. But as the day ended, Dodig was beaten 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 by 8th-seeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers. Dutchman Igor Sijsling defeated second-seeded Adrian Mannarino 7-6, 4-6, 6-1; Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania defeated fourth-seeded Luxembourg’s Giles Muller 3-6, 7-6, 6-4. Muller was within two points from victory after taking the first set and leading 5-2 in second-set tie breaker but Berankis held nerve and took the match to the third set. Spain’s third seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez played powerfully against Damir Dzumhur from Bosnia and Herzegovina and entered the QF by beating the Bosnian 6-1, 6-1. In the same way, Ukraine’s Viktor Troicki trounced Japanese Go Soeda 6-3, 6-1. Italian Andreas Seppi defeated Great Britain’s James Ward 7-5, 6-7, 6-3. In a powerful display, Russian Mikhail Youzhny finished off Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-2, 6-1.
At Quito, the no.1 seed Spaniard Feliciano Lopez defeated Alejandro Gonzales 7-5, 6-2 to book his place in the QF. His next opponent for the place in the semifinal will be Serbian Dusan Lajovic, who defeated qualifier Nicolas Jarry in a three-setter, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi beat Colombian Alejandro Falla 7-5, 6-1 that saw Falla serving nine double faults to make it easier for Lorenzi, who will next face Fernando Verdasco. The Spaniard defeated Austrian Gerald Melzer 7-6, 6-4. In other matches that led players to the quarterfinals, Spaniard Albert Montannes caused the biggest upset by beating no. 2 seed Santiago Giraldo 7-6, 7-5; Thomaz Bellucci beat Horacio Zeballos 6-2, 3-6, 7-6; Martin Klizan beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 and Victor Estrella Burgo beat Renzo Olivo 7-6, 6-4.