1/9/13 5:19 PM | Ricky Dimon
2012 finalists Jarkko Nieminen and Julien Benneteau advance to the Sydney quarterfinals on Wednesday. Nieminen defeats lucky loser Ivo Klec and Benneteau gets a retirement from Radek Stepanek.
Defending champion Jarkko Nieminen booked a spot in the Apia International quarterfinals by dismissing lucky loser Ivo Klec 6-3, 6-1 on Wednesday afternoon. Klec, who lost in the second round of qualifying but got into the main draw when No. 2 seed withdrew, lasted a mere 46 minutes on court.
Nieminen actually donated serve once, but he more than made up for it with five breaks of his own--two in the first set and three in the second. The veteran Finn won an incredible 22 of 26 second-serve return points.
2012 runner-up Julien Benneteau advanced to the last eight in even easier fashion. Radek Stepanek retired in the first game due to an intercostal muscle strain.
Fellow seed Fernando Verdasco fared just marginally better than Simon and Stepanek. The Spaniard went down to Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and nine minutes. Istomin did not face a single break point and his third service break came at 5-3 to polish off the proceedings in style.
Nieminen and Benneteau are once again on opposite sides of the draw, so a final rematch is possible. Next up for Nieminen is either Florian Mayer or Bernard Tomic, while Benneteau awaits Ryan Harrison. Istomin will go up against Kevin Anderson.
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