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Hewitt moves into Mumbai Open quarter-finals

sports Updated: Sep 28, 2007 02:57 IST

AFP
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Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt overcame initial resistance from Serbian Boris Pashanski to storm into the Mumbai Open quarter-finals with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 victory in Mumbai on Thursday.

The second-seeded Australian saved three break-points in the 11th game of the opening set before racing to victory in style, giving no chance to his opponent in the second set to complete his second win of the day.

The 26-year-old Hewitt, who beat Taiwan qualifier Ti Chen 6-3, 6-3 in the morning, was scheduled to open his campaign on Wednesday but the match was postponed due to rain.

He was also initially a doubtful starter after pulling out of a crucial Davis Cup tie against Serbia in Belgrade on Sunday with a viral infection.

"It was difficult to play two games in a day. I surely wasn't in my best form. The first match was a bit difficult as I took time to adjust to the conditions here, but I played much better in the second," said Hewitt.

"When I was 0-40 down, I came back strongly to take the first set and when playing a tie-breaker you surely require mental toughness."

Top-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet made short work of Italian Fabio Fognini to advance to the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-1 victory.

Germans Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler, Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, Austria's Stefan Koubek and Belgian Olivier Rochus also entered the last eight.

Former world no 4 Kiefer, given a wild card into the main draw here, posted an easy 6-3, 6-3 win over Taiwan Yen-Hsun Lu.

The 30-year-old German, who returned to the tour in June after injuring his wrist at the 2006 French Open, said he was happy with his performance but still wanted to do better in coming matches.

"I had never played him earlier and just saw him practising the other day, so I didn't know what to expect. I observed his game in initial stages and then went for the 'kill'," said Kiefer.

"It was hot, but I was prepared for it. I am happy with my performances so far, but I want to improve and do better."

Fifth-seeded Santoro faced a stiff challenge from compatriot Nicolas Devilder in the opening set before winning 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Fourth-seeded Nieminen faced little difficulty qualifying for the next round, whipping Japanese Toshihide Matsui 6-0, 6-4.

"I didn't expect it to be that easy. I won the opening set comfortably, but in the second he came back and gave me a bit of a scare," said Nieminen.

Sixth-seeded Koubek overcame the opening-set deficit to down German Bjorn Phau 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 while eighth-seeded Rochus beat Spain's Ivan Navarro 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.