STOCKHOLM: Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt reached his first quarter-final since July when he defeated eighth-seeded Finn Jarkko Nieminen 7-6 (7/2), 2-6, 6-4 at the Stockholm Open on Wednesday.
Former world number one Hewitt dropped serve six times, but capitalised on three of his four break points in the decisive set to improve to a 5-0 record against Nieminen.
The 31-year-old last made the quarter-finals on his way to the Newport championship match in July where he was runner-up to John Isner. Nieminen was looking to reach the Stockholm quarter-finals for a seventh straight year and eighth time overall. He was a finalist in 2001, 2006 and 2011.
Setback for Bartoli
France’s Marion Bartoli saw her slender hopes of sneaking into the season-ending WTA Championships by the back door suffer another setback on Wednesday when she was sent crashing out of the $1.5 million Kremlin Cup.
The second seeded Bartoli slumped to a 6-3, 6-0 second round loss to Swedish world nunber 46 Sofia Arvidsson who recorded her fifth win over Geneva resident Bartoli in their seventh head-to-head meeting.
Bartoli, who is 10th in the rankings, was hoping to leapfrog Australia’s Samantha Stosur, the world number nine and top seed in Moscow, in the race to be the first alternate for the eight-woman WTA Championship in Istanbul next week.
“Today my body just refused to execute what my mind was telling it to do,” Bartoli said.
“Besides, the surface here is very slow and it didn’t fit my play very well. Of course it would have been better for me to go to Istanbul as the first substitute but it’s rewarding for me to get a chance to go there.” Arvidsson produced three breaks to take the opening set in 39 minutes, while Bartoli broke back only on two occasions. In the second set, Arvidsson broke three more times to secure her quarter-final spot.
“I am very happy to win this match to reach the quarter-finals,” Arvidsson said. “Marion is a great competitor, a top 10 player, and I knew I would have to be at my best.