Seventh seed Julien Benneteau also through to set semifinal date with Ferrer as doubles top seeds suffer early exit at the hands in-form British duo
The semifinal matches of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2012 are set to be a sizzling affair as all top three singles seeds proved their mettle to win their respective quarterfinal matches held at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
Top seeded world No. 5 David Ferrer came back from a set down to overcome a spirited challenge from world No. 97 Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands, defeating him 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and three minutes on Centre Court.
Ferrer hit an uncharacteristic number of errors as he conceded the first set, but rushed to a 3-0 lead early in the second to level the tie. In a highly engrossing end to the third set, Ferrer saved four break points at 5-4 and showed just why he was the top seed with some exquisite forehand winners under pressure to snatch the victory and a semifinal date with Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
“I think I played good today. It will be a tough match against Julien as he is very good on hard court and had a good game today,” said the 30-year-old.
Second seeded world No. 11 Juan Monaco of Argentina stamped his authority over first time ATP 250 quarterfinalist Vasek Pospisil of Canada with a 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 24 minutes.
Monaco had a relatively straightforward first set and secured victory with breaks over the 22-year-old Canadian number two in the first and last games. The second set was a tense affair, and the strong serving world No. 122 Pospisil held serve well, with nine aces, and even looked to come back after setting himself up for two break points in the seventh game, but failed to capitalise and succumbed to defeat.
“He is a great young player and he played well but I won the important points,” said the 28-year-old Argentinean, who has an outside chance of making the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals in November.
He will play Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who advanced to the semifinals of the Malaysian Open when Russian Nikolay Davydenko retired after going down 6-4 in a 57 minute first set of their quarterfinal match.
This is the second year running that 31-year-old 2009 singles champion Davydenko has pulled out of a Malaysian Open quarterfinal with injury. Last year, he conceded at 3-1 down in the first set against eventual winner Janko Tipsarevic.
“It’s sad to see him retire but hopefully he is fine. There was a lot of support today in the stadium and I had fun on court. I’m looking forward to the semifinal,” said the smiling Asian number one and world No. 17, who will incidentally partner his semifinal opponent Monaco in the doubles next week in Beijing.
“He plays the baseline well and doesn’t miss much, so I’ll have to stay at the baseline, be aggressive and play good tennis. We are close, but sometimes it’s hard to play against friends,” added the 22-year-old, who hopes to successfully defend his top 20 ranking this year.
Meanwhile, seventh seed world No.34 Benneteau could not have expected an easier quarterfinal match today, as occasional giant slayer Colombian Alejandro Falla failed to hit form and went down tamely 6-2, 6-2 in just 59 minutes in the third match on Centre Court today.
“I just focused on my game and did what I needed to do. I was good tactically and did not give him a chance to come back into the game,” said the 30-year-old.
On tomorrow’s semifinal with Ferrer, Benneateau said: “It will be a tough match as he is a very good player. I have played against him and won and he has beaten me too. We are the same age and have known each other long,” said the Frenchman.
Meanwhile, in the biggest shock of the doubles draw, top seeds and 2009 champions Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland crashed out of the tournament, as in-form Great Britain pair Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins continued their giant slaying ways with a 6-3, 7-6(3) semifinal victory in one hour and 17 minutes.
The strong serving British duo were in top serving form and did not face a single break point on serve throughout the match.
The semifinal matches tomorrow start at 2:15pm with Nishikori and Monaco taking to court first, followed by Ferrer vs Benneteau. The other doubles semifinal between third seeded Austrian-Brazilian pair of Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares and second seeded Italian-Brazilian duo Daniele Bracciali and Marcelo Melo will take place following that match.
The tournament is supported by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia and sponsors that include Rado, CNN International, the DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Wilson, 100 Plus, the Albukhary Foundation, Astro and the ATP World Tour’s Premier Partner Corona. The event is sanctioned by the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting the official website,www.MalaysianOpenTennis.com.