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Monaco Makes Strong Start; Thiem Stuns Melzer

Kitzbuhel, Austria

Monaco© GEPA/Hans OsterauerJuan Monaco is looking to win the Kitzbuhel title for a second time.

Second seed Juan Monaco opened his bid to reclaim the bet-at-home Cup Kitzbühel title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Austrian wild card Andreas Haider-Maurer on Wednesday.

The Argentine triumphed at this ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament on his last appearance in 2007 (d. Starace) and has won seven of his eight ATP World Tour titles on clay. He is bidding for his second trophy of the season after winning the Power Horse Cup in Dusseldorf (d. Nieminen) in May.

Monaco goes on to face Daniel Gimeno-Traver, who defeated Jan Hajek 6-3, 6-3 in 73 minutes. World No. 62 Gimeno-Traver leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-1, having beaten Monaco in five sets in the Roland Garros first round two months ago. The 27 year old is trying to reach his first semi-final of the season.

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Two-time defending champion Robin Haase improved to an 11-0 mark in Kitzbuhel, saving all six break points he faced as he dismissed Daniel Brands 6-4, 6-1 in 67 minutes. The Dutchman, who reached the final last week at the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad (l. to Youzhny), has a 20-19 mark on the season.

Haase will test his unbeaten Kitzbuhel record against third seed Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-finals. Verdasco prevailed in an all-Spanish contest with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 7-6(7) in one hour and 45 minutes. Haase won their one previous clash, two years ago at Wimbledon. The 29-year-old Verdasco is bidding to reach the Kitzbuhel semi-finals for the fifth time; he went on to reach the final in 2005 (l. to Gaudio). 

Seventh seed Albert Montanes hit 11 aces as he edged Victor Hanescu 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(5) in two hours and 33 minutes. The Spaniard, who won his sixth ATP World Tour title at the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur in May (d. Monfils), is through to his second quarter-final in a row and will face wild card Dominic Thiem.

World No. 268 Thiem reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final as he bridged a gap of 234 places in the Emirates ATP Rankings to stun fourth seed Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 6-3. At 19 years, 10 months, Thiem is one of only four teenagers in the Top 300 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The 32-year-old Melzer, a finalist in Kitzbuhel in 2008 (l. to del Potro), dropped to a 17-19 match record in 2013.

Murray/Peers Beat Second Seeds
Fresh from winning their second ATP World Tour team title at the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad last week, Jamie Murray and John Peers knocked out the second seeds in the first round. The British/Australian duo rallied from a bagel second set, in which they won just eight points, and an 8-4 deficit in the Match Tie-break to beat Daniele Bracciali and Filip Polasek 6-4, 0-6, 12-10 in just over an hour.

Fourth seeds Martin Emmrich and Christopher Kas cruised into the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Victor Hanescu and Florin Mergea.

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