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Haas Leads Three Germans Into QFs

Zagreb, Croatia

Phau© PBZ Zagreb IndoorsBjorn Phau knocked out second seed Mikhail Youzhny to reach the quarter-finals.

It was a good day for Germans on Thursday at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors, as top seed Tommy Haas, third seed Philipp Kohlschreiber and Bjorn Phau all reached the quarter-finals of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard court tennis tournament.

Haas, who turned professional back in 1996, made his debut in Zagreb with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over countryman Benjamin Becker. The 35 year old advanced in one hour and 47 minutes, hitting 11 aces and converting four of his eight break points. He is two victories away from his 550th match win and is chasing his 16th ATP World Tour title this week.

"There's a lot of work to be done. I haven't played a lot of matches in the last four months," said Haas. "I have had problems with my shoulder and I haven't been able to do what I want to do because of [that]. I'm happy to have won today and to have another match tomorrow."

Kohlschreiber reached his second quarter-final of the season as he dismissed Andrey Golubev 6-4, 6-2. The German lost just six points on serve and broke his opponent three times to advance in 68 minutes.

Kohlschreiber goes on to face lucky loser Daniel Evans, who reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final after battling past qualifier Michael Berrer 1-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) in one hour and 37 minutes. The Briton broke through last year with a run to the third round of the US Open as a qualifier, knocking out Kei Nishikori and Bernard Tomic before losing to Tommy Robredo.

Qualifier Bjorn Phau finished strongly to upset second seed and 2012 champion Mikhail Youzhny 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. World No. 358 Phau defeated Youzhny for the first time in three meetings as he broke serve three times in the final set and lost just eight points on serve for victory in two hours and 12 minutes.

“For me, it’s a great, great success,” said Phau, who is looking to get back on track this season after an injury-hit 2013. "I'm just trying to get in shape and to win some matches. If I do that, I can probably get up [to the Top 60] again."

The 34-year-old Phau is through to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since July 2012 in Stuttgart (l. to Tipsarevic). The right-hander goes on to face Israel’s Dudi Sela, who cruised past Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-2 in 51 minutes. The No. 78-ranked Sela will contest his second quarter-final of the season after reaching the last eight in Chennai (l. to Roger-Vasselin).

In an all-Croatian second-round contest, fourth seed Ivan Dodig saved all seven break points he faced to defeat Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5), 6-3 in 80 minutes. The 29-year-old Dodig won his lone ATP World Tour title on home soil in Zagreb three years ago, defeating Michael Berrer in the final.

"It's a great experience for us Croatian players," said Dodig about playing in front of a home crowd. "We don't have many opportunities to play at home so we are trying to play our best tennis here in Zagreb. I really enjoy it."

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