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Seppi Makes Smooth Progress

Belgrade, Serbia

Andreas Seppi© Getty ImagesAndreas Seppi advanced to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the 2009 season.

Fourth seed Andreas Seppi wasted no time in booking his place in the quarter-finals of the inaugural Serbia Open as he cruised past Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-1 on Thursday at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Belgrade.

The Italian broke serve five times from nine opportunities to combat losing his serve once and won 71 per cent of points behind his first serve to close out victory after 72 minutes.

World No. 36 Seppi is through to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since August last year, when he reached the last eight on hard court at New Haven (l. to Gregorc). The 25 year old, who received a bye through the first round this week, improved to an 8-12 match record on the season but is yet to win back-to-back matches in 2009.

Seppi next will face Brazilian Marcos Daniel for a place in his first ATP World Tour semi-final since Hamburg last May (l. to Federer). The Brazilian converted three of six break points to clinch a 6-4, 6-3 victory over sixth-seeded Croatian Ivan Ljubicic after 77 minutes.

Daniel, currently No. 120 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, won just his first match of the season when he defeated Guillermo Canas in the first round on Tuesday. The 30 year old, who won an ATP Challenger Tour title in Marrakech in March, last reached an ATP World Tour quarter-final on clay in Houston (l. to Granollers) in April 2008.

The No. 53-ranked Ljubicic was bidding to reach his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the year and slipped to an 11-10 match record on the season.

Italian qualifier Flavio Cipolla, who upset Cypriot wild card Marcos Baghdatis in the first round, built on his success by ousting seventh-seeded Frenchman Arnaud Clement 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since Estoril (l. to Serra) in April last year.

World No. 122 Cipolla improved to a 5-7 match record, highlighted up till now by second-round showings at Chennai (l. to Phau) and the Australian Open (l. to Haas) at the start of the season. The 25 year old has qualified into the main draw an ATP World Tour-best six times this season, including this week.

Cipolla goes on to face second-seeded Croatian Ivo Karlovic, who closed out a 6-4, 7-6(5) win over Argentina’s Brian Dabul in one hour and 45 minutes. Karlovic, who hit 19 aces total, saved all nine break point chances faced on serve and capitalised on one of his six chances.

The 30-year-old Karlovic advances to an ATP quarter-final for the first time since his season opener in Chennai (l. to Devvarman). He has a 9-9 season record, including a 3-2 mark on clay.

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