IF STOCKHOLM OPEN 2013
Raonic's London Hopes Take A Hit; Gulbis Beats Janowicz
by ATP Staff|
Milos Raonic’s chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals took a hit on Friday as he was beaten in the quarter-finals of the If Stockholm Open. The Canadian lost 7-6(3), 6-3 to sixth seed Benoit Paire.
The 22-year-old Raonic is currently in 11th place in the Emirates ATP Race To London, two spots away from qualification for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Paire saved seven of the eight break points he faced to beat Raonic in 86 minutes and claim his 32nd win of the season. The Frenchman is looking to reach his second final of the season, having finished runner-up at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier in February (l. to Gasquet).
“It was a tough match for me today,” said Paire. “He’s a good player and he has a good serve. The most important thing is to stay focussed throughout the match and I managed it. I played a very good tie-break and I served well.”
In the semi-finals, Paire will face Grigor Dimitrov, who dismissed Kenny De Schepper of France 6-4, 6-2 in 67 minutes. Dimitrov won 83 per cent of points on serve to reach his fourth semi-final of the season. The Bulgarian is chasing his first ATP World Tour title, having finished runner-up at the Brisbane International in January (l. to Murray).
“It was a good match,” said Dimitrov. “It’s always nice to come and play indoors. I’m enjoying it and I hope I can do better in the next round. I always feel comfortable in Sweden; these events are some of the nicest of the year. Ben [Paire] is very unpredictable on court. I’ve known him for a long time. It’s going to be a battle.”
Ernests Gulbis is one match win away from reaching his third ATP World Tour final of the season. Fifth seed Gulbis converted four of his 10 break point opportunities to beat third seed Jerzy Janowicz 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and five minutes.
His opponent, Fernando Verdasco, pulled out due to a right abdominal muscle strain.
"Yesterday against Jarkko Nieminen, I felt pain in the second set," Verdasco told ATPWorldTour.com. "After the match I checked with the doctors and physios, but we did not know what I had. After warming up this morning, it was still hurting.
"I will try and play with David Marrero in Valencia as we try and get points for the [Barclays] ATP World Tour Finals."
Swedish duo Jonas Bjorkman and Robert Lindstedt advanced to the semi-finals with a 4-6, 6-1, 10-8 victory over Ernests Gulbis and Dmitry Tursunov. The 41-year-old Bjorkman called time on his professional career five years ago, but came out of retirement to play the tournament he won three times. In the semi-finals, Bjorkman and Lindstedt will face fourth seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky.
Top seeds and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals contenders Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer got a pass into the final with a walkover. David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco were forced to withdraw due to Verdasco’s injury.