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Ferrer To Face Verdasco In Stockholm QFs; Gulbis Advances

Stockholm, Sweden

Gulbis© AFP/Getty ImagesErnests Gulbis is through to his fourth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the year.

Top seed David Ferrer will face fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the If Stockholm Open quarter-finals after opening with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over American Jack Sock on Thursday.

Ferrer, making his first Stockholm appearance since 2006, broke Sock five times in a one hour, 36-minute victory. Meanwhile, Verdasco hit seven aces and as many double faults to beat three-time former finalist Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. The 29 year old saved eight of 11 break points for a place in the last eight for the first time since 2004 (l. to Agassi).

Ferrer leads Verdasco 9-7 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, with wins in their past five meetings. The 32-year-old Ferrer has already secured his spot in the eight-man Barclays ATP World Tour Finals field and is looking to win his third title of the season this week.

Milos Raonic, the No. 2 seed, ended Swedish qualifier Joachim Johansson's comeback appearance with a 6-2, 7-6(3) win in one hour and 23 minutes. The Canadian capitalised on two of his 11 break points and struck 16 aces to Johansson's 11, which combined for a $850 donation to prostate cancer research. The tournament title sponsor is donating 200 SEK per ace served on centre court throughout the week.

"Really hard to get a rhythm," said Raonic of playing the former World No. 9. "He’s very dangerous, goes for his shots, and especially when he puts a few together, puts a lot of pressure on your service games… It’s impressive just to see how well he plays after taking two years off, a really competitive ATP Tour-level tennis."

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Johansson, a winner of three ATP World Tour titles, had conceded just four games to Alejandro Falla in his first round match. "Going into this tournament I told myself I wanted to face the best players because I know I'm good indoor," he said, adding, "When Raonic serves like he did today it's very difficult as he is always in the lead."

The 31 year old had first retired from the sport in 2008, but returned to play a handful of events in 2009 and '11. "I'm happy with my life situation right now, but I've learned to never say never," he said. "But tomorrow it's back to work at 11:00."

Fifth seed Ernests Gulbis reached his fourth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season on Thursday when he beat Igor Sijsling 6-3, 7-6(3) in 79 minutes. Gulbis has won two ATP World Tour titles this year at the Delray Beach Open by The Venetian® Las Vegas (d. Roger-Vasselin) and at the St. Petersburg Open (d. Garcia-Lopez).

Elsewhere, Kenny De Schepper booked a spot in his first ATP World Tour quarter-final by hitting 20 aces past fourth seed Kevin Anderson – who hit 13 aces – in a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 win. He goes on to play seventh-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who dismissed German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1, 6-3 in 61 minutes.

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London Contenders Reach SFs
Top seeds Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer, currently in the seventh position in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings, defeated Johan Brunstrom and Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-4. Meanwhile, the fifth-placed team of David Marrero and Verdasco teamed up for a 6-3, 7-6(1) win over Gero Kretschmer and Alexander Satschko.

Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky, the winners of two doubles titles this year, continued to press their claims for a Barclays ATP World Tour Finals spot with a 5-7, 6-4, 10-6 quarter-final victory over Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen. Gonzalez and Lipsky are currently in 12th position in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings.

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