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Malisse Stops Simon; Ferrer Beats Qualifier For Third Round Berth

Wimbledon, England

Malisse© Getty ImagesXavier Malisse reached the 2002 Wimbledon semi-finals.

Belgian Xavier Malisse completed a high-quality 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(5) victory over No. 13 seed Gilles Simon of France on Thursday for a place in the third round at The Championships.

The 31 year old, who is playing at the All England Club for the 12th time, hit 10 aces, 34 winners and won 25 of his 32 points at the net. Malisse’s victory in two hours and 30 minutes snapped a two-match losing streak against Simon.

“I'm very happy,” said Malisse, who reached the 2002 Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Nalbandian). “I played well. I've never beaten him. It's always tough to play someone you've never won against. [I am] very happy to win in three [sets], because if I lose the tie-breaker, it's [a] totally different match and he could come back. He never gives up.” 

The World No. 75 will next play Spanish No. 17 seed Fernando Verdasco, who hit 22 aces and 55 winners past Slovenian wild card Grega Zemlja for a 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3 victory.

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Seventh seed David Ferrer booked his place in the third round with a 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-4 victory over French qualifier and World No. 160 Kenny de Schepper. The 30-year-old Spaniard committed just 10 unforced errors and won 19 of his 23 points at the net. He has reached the Wimbledon fourth round on three occasions in 2006 (l. to Hewitt), 2010 (l. to Soderling) and 2011 (l. to Tsonga).

Ferrer, a two-time grass-court titlist at the UNICEF Open in 2008 (d. Gasquet) and last week (d. Petzschner), has won four ATP World Tour titles this season. He has a 45-8 match record.

American Brian Baker continued his impressive comeback to professional tennis by beating experienced Finn Jarkko Nieminen 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 in just 80 minutes. Baker committed just eight unforced errors and lost just 11 points in the first set.

Belgian wild card David Goffin, who qualified for Roland Garros and reached the fourth round (l. to Federer), needed two hours and 27 minutes to beat American qualifier Jesse Levine 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. Both players hit 14 aces and 50 aces, but Goffin was able to break serve six times from 12 opportunities.

“It was not an easy match today,” said Goffin. “I didn't start very well. I was a little bit nervous because on paper I was [the] favourite, but it's never easy to manage a match like today. I'm feeling good’… [and] I'm really happy to win today.”

Japan’s Kei Nishikori was impressive in a 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 win over Florent Serra of France. He becomes the first Japanese player to reach the Wimbledon third round since Shuzo Matsuoka in 1995 (l. to Sampras in the quarter-finals).

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