FARMERS CLASSIC 2012
Russell Rolls Top Seed; Malisse, Mahut Into QFs
Los Angeles, U.S.A.
by Iain Boyd|
American veteran Michael Russell rolled back the years at the Farmers Classic on Thursday, beating top-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-4 for a place in the quarter-finals. Russell landed 79 per cent of first serves against the World No. 50 Paire, capitalising on six of seven break point opportunities for victory in one hour and 39 minutes.
Russell, 34, who is ranked No. 83 and the third-oldest player in the Top 100 South African Airways ATP Rankings, is into his second straight ATP World Tour quarter-final following Atlanta last week (l. to Roddick).
He now faces Marinko Matosevic for a place in the semi-finals after the sixth-seeded Australian edged Tobias Kamke 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 in one hour and 35 minutes. World No. 81 Matosevic won 74 per cent of his first service points, taking five of his eight break point opportunities in the second round win.
Fifth-seeded Belgian Xavier Malisse reached his third quarter-final at the Farmers Classic on Thursday, beating Australian Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-3 in 73 minutes. Malisse won 91 per cent of first service points and saved the only break point he faced to advance in the first ATP meeting between the pair.
World No. 72 Malisse improved to a 9-8 career mark in Los Angeles and an 18-17 match record on the season, coming off a third straight semi-final at the UNICEF Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (l. to Petzschner) last month.
Fourth seed Nicolas Mahut is into his second ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season, following a 7-5, 7-6(7) victory over Italian Paolo Lorenzi. The Frenchman won 84 per cent of first service points and saved all three break points he faced to advance in one hour and 53 minutes.
World No. 66 Mahut, whose previous quarter-final showing came on home soil in Montpellier in February (l. to Berdych), improved to a 15-3 match record on the season and extended his ATP FedEx Head2Head between the pair to 2-0 following a five set victory over World No. 91 Lorenzi in the Wimbledon first round last month.
He now meets former junior World No. 1 Ricardas Berankis, who beat Russian Igor Andreev 6-4, 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals. Lithuanian Berankis took all three break point opportunities, saving four out of five on his own serve to advance in 75 minutes.