Federer, del Potro enter quarters
Roger Federer failed to match the accuracy of Cupid’s arrow on Valentine’s Day but still cruised past Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the World Indoor Tournament on Thursday.
Defending champion Federer only landed 42 percent of his first serves during the first set but an early break helped him take the lead against an awkward opponent cheered on by a home crowd.
Another early break in the second set combined with an improved service ratio earned top seed Federer a place in the quarterfinals where he faces Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who he beat twice on the grass courts of Wimbledon last year.
Federer won at the London Olympics in straight sets but had to overcome a two-set deficit weeks earlier on his way to his 17th Grand Slam title.
Second seed Juan Martin del Potro, beaten by Federer in last year’s final, kept his best tennis for the big points as he struggled before beating wild card Ernests Gulbis 7-6, 6-3.
Latvian Gulbis impressed with his serve in the second set when he hit five straight aces, but a break in the eight game was enough for Del Potro to clinch the match.
In the quarterfinal, Del Potro will meet Finn Jarkko Nieminen who needed three sets to overcome German qualifier Matthias Bachinger 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
Fourth seed Richard Gasquet suffered a 6-4, 6-4 defeat against Marcos Baghdatis from Cyprus.
World No 1 Victoria Azarenka and second-ranked Serena Williams eased into the Qatar Open quarterfinals with dominant third-round victories on Thursday.
Williams crushed Pole Urszula Radwanska 6-0, 6-3. Belarussian Azarenka demolished American Christina McHale 6-0, 6-0 in just over an hour and Russian third seed Maria Sharapova overpowered Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 6-3.
Australian Sam Stosur reached the last eight with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova and sixth seed Sara Errani knocked out Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.
Czech Petra Kvitova completed the quarterfinal line-up as she overcame Russian Nadia Petrova 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.