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Davydenko Downs Ferrero; Americans Blake, Fish Progress

Estoril, Portugal

James Blake© AFP/Getty ImagesJames Blake celebrates his first clay win of 2009.

Second seed and former champion Nikolay Davydenko will meet sixth seed Mardy Fish for the third time on Friday in the Estoril Open quarter-finals. The pair has never met on a clay-court.
Russian Davydenko, the 2003 titlist (d. Calleri) and runner-up in 2006 (l. to Nalbandian) and 2008 (l. to Federer), knocked out former World No. 1 and 2001 winner (d. Mantilla) Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 7-5, 6-2 on Central Court.

Davydenko, who has a 15-5 record at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, reached the Barcelona semi-finals (l. to Nadal) two weeks ago. He is competing at his sixth ATP World Tour tournament this year. He suffered a left heel injury at Chennai in January, which kept him from competing for two months.

American Fish battled to a 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Ivan Navarro and a third career win over the Spaniard. Fish, 27, won his second clay-court match of the year for a place in the quarter-finals. The Florida resident clinched his third ATP World Tour title at Delray Beach (d. Korolev) and finished runner-up at San Jose (l. to Stepanek) earlier this year. He has a 14-9 record.

Spaniard Oscar Hernandez will meet Paul Capdeville of Chile for the first time in Friday’s quarter-finals.

World No. 69 Hernandez beat his Spanish compatriot and third seed David Ferrer 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 39 minutes. Hernandez also reached the Buenos Aires quarter-finals (l. to Acasuso) in February.

Ferrer, currently No. 14 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, dropped to 1-3 lifetime in Estoril. The 27 year old also fell to 24-11 on the 2009 ATP World Tour season highlighted by two runner-up finishes in Dubai (l. to Djokovic) and Barcelona (l. to Nadal). 

Capdeville booked his place in a second ATP World Tour quarter-final of the year (also Vina del Mar), after beating Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in one of the first completed matches of the day. Capdeville has an even 5-5 record this year.

American James Blake (pictured) recorded his first clay-court win of the 2009 ATP World Tour season, earning a confidence-boosting 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 win over Portugal’s highest-ever ranked player Frederico Gil on his Estoril Open debut Wednesday. The 29 year old had previously lost first round matches this season at clay-court tournaments in Houston (l. to Canas) and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l. to Crivoi). 

Blake, who improved to 10-8 on the year, will next meet France’s Marc Gicquel in the second round. Gil, 24, a two-time ATP World Tour semi-finalist at Johannesburg (l. to Tsonga) and Costa do Sauipe (l. to Bellucci) in recent months, dropped to a 12-7 mark.

Another first-round winner, Italian Fabio Fognini, on day four at the Estadio Nacional, overcame 2005 winner and wild card entry Gaston Gaudio of Argentina 6-3, 6-4.

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