• De Bakker, Stepanek aim for New Haven semifinals

    8/26/10 4:02 AM | Ricky Dimon
    De Bakker, Stepanek aim for New Haven semifinals Thiemo De Bakker and Radek Stepanek will contest their New Haven quarterfinal matches on Thursday. They are set for meetings with Evgeny Korolev and Viktor Troicki, respectively.

    Evgeny Korolev vs. (12) Thiemo De Bakker

    Korolev and De Bakker will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they do battle in the quarterfinals of the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament on Thursday. De Bakker is ranked 20 spots ahead of his opponent at No. 53 in the world, good for the No. 12 seed this week. The 21-year-old Dutchman has defeated Mikhail Kukushkin and Florian Mayer so far in New Haven, needing three sets for both victories. Korolev is one of the most inconsistent players on tour, but he has earned wins over Frederico Gil, Michael Berrer, and Ilya Marchenko. Look for the Kazakh's run to end at the hands of De Bakker in straight sets.

    (10) Viktor Troicki vs. (LL) Radek Stepanek

    Troicki and Stepanek will be squaring off for the second time in as many weeks when they take the court for quarterfinal action on Thursday. They just faced each other in the Cincinnati first round, with Troicki prevailing 7-5, 6-1. Stepanek was rusty at that point following a long layoff, but he already has six matches under his belt; three main-draw wins, two qualifying wins, and a qualifying loss (he got in as a lucky loser). Troicki, actually ranked 15 spots below his opponent despite being the No. 10 seed, has advanced past Jarkko Nieminen and Alexandr Dolgopolov. This should be more competitive than the previous encounter, but Troicki should get another win.

    Teymuraz Gabashvili vs. (15) Denis Istomin

    Gabashvili and Istomin have quietly made their way through the New Haven draw to reach the quarterfinals. Istomin enjoyed a first-round bye as the No. 15 seed before dismissing Benjamin Becker and Lukas Lacko. Gabashvili beat Potito Starace and Xavier Malisse (via first-set retirement), then outlasted fifth-seeded Andrey Golubev 9-7 in a third-set tiebreaker. Istomin is an impressive 24-19 this season and up to No. 46 in the world. Uzbekistan's No. 1 player should have an edge over Gabashvili on a hard court, so look for him to prevail in three sets.

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5 service games, 5 breaks so far in Stepanek-Troicki

RickyDimon , 8/27/10 4:23 AM

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