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Almagro Gets London Campaign Back On Track; Hewitt Ousts Nieminen

Stockholm, Sweden

Hewitt© Karolina Brunstrom/If Stockholm OpenLleyton Hewitt is making his first If Stockholm Open appearance in a decade.

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals qualification contender Nicolas Almagro opened his If Stockholm Open campaign on Wednesday with a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory over Romanian qualifier Marius Copil. The Spaniard withstood 15 aces and was able to capitalise on one of his three break point chances to clinch victory in 82 minutes.

The 27-year-old Almagro is looking to bounce back in the race to qualify for the year-end championships, following first-round defeats at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo (l. to Ito) and the Shanghai Rolex Masters (l. to Haas) in the past two weeks. He is currently 10th in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London, with three singles spots still to be claimed.

Australian Lleyton Hewitt ended Jarkko Nieminen’s hopes of reaching the Stockholm final for a fourth time as he fought past the eighth-seeded Finn 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes. Though Hewitt dropped serve six times, he capitalised on three of his four break points in the decisive set to improve to a 5-0 record against Nieminen.

Hewitt, 31, advances to his first quarter-final since a run to the Newport final in July (l. to Isner). Nieminen was looking to reach the Stockholm quarter-finals for a seventh straight year and eighth time overall. He was a finalist in 2001, ’06 and ’11.

Russian Mikhail Youzhny, the No. 6 seed, was untroubled in his match against Stockholm native Patrik Rosenholm. He dismissed the wild card 6-0, 6-2 in 63 minutes as he went five for seven on his break point opportunities. Rosenholm had made an impressive tour-level debut Tuesday, upsetting defending champion Gael Monfils.

Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis reached his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season as he ousted fourth-seeded German and 2010 runner-up Florian Mayer 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. The No. 95-ranked Berankis hit 10 aces and broke serve three times from six opportunities to complete the comeback win in one hour and 43 minutes.

The 22-year-old Berankis reached his first ATP World Tour final over the summer at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles (l. to Querrey). He also advanced to the last eight at the St. Petersburg Open (l. to Klizan) last month.

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