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Moya marches into US Open quarter-finals

Spain's Carlos Moya advanced to the US Open quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 victory over Latvian teen Ernests Gulbis.

sports Updated: Sep 05, 2007 03:54 IST

Spain's Carlos Moya advanced to the US Open quarter-finals, matching his best Grand Slam showing since 1998 with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 victory over Latvian teen Ernests Gulbis.

Moya, the oldest man still in the US Open after turning 31 on August 27, will next face the winner of a later match between Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic and Argentine 23rd seed Juan Monaco.

"I feel like 20 years old the way I'm playing. It's great," Moya said. "When you're the oldest guy in the draw you get a lot of support from the crowd."

Moya, the 17th seed, won his only Grand Slam title at the 1998 French Open and lost to Australian Mark Philippoussis in the 1998 US Open semis. Since then his top Slam runs were to the last eight twice in France and once in Australia.

"I didn't expect to be in the quarters, but it's a great feeling to be here," Moya said. "I'm still fresh. Physically I'm fine."

Gulbis, who turned 19 last Thursday, failed in his bid to become only the fifth man in the Open Era to reach a quarter-final in his US Open debut after the 88th-ranked prodigy ousted Spanish eighth seed Tommy Robredo on Sunday.

Gulbis fired 10 aces in the first set but the wily Spanish veteran used his groundstrokes to full advantage, breaking through on his fourth chance in the 11th game, holding for the first set, and breaking to open the second.

Moya and Gulbis traded early breaks in the third set and went to tie-break, where Moya was two points from taking the match but hit two errant forehands and lost the set on a Gulbis backhand winner.

"It was not an easy match," Moya said. "We both served very well."

The match turned in the final game when Moya achieved the only break points of the fourth set, smacking a backhand volley crosscourt winner on his second match point to eliminate gutty Gulbis after two hours 25 minutes.

"I think it was the best point of the match," Moya said. "I made a pretty good volley."

Moya won his 20th career crown in July at Umag and has a 544-286 record while Gulbis, who made a stunning run to last year's St. Petersburg semis in his ATP debut, was 1-11 in ATP matches this year before the Open.

Gulbis, the grandson of a former Soviet Union basketball national team player, won his Grand Slam debut in May at the French Open, downing Britain's Tim Henman in straight sets for his only pre-US Open triumph of the season.

Gulbis speaks four languages, having learned English while watching cartoons when his actress mother Milena was working in London.