Novak advances to quarter-finals
GSTAAD (Switzerland): Defending champion Jiri Novak defeated Albert Montanes of Spain 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday to advance to the quarter-finals of the 544,750-euro Swiss Open tennis tournament.
With the victory, fourth-seeded Novak improved his record to 15-4 on the red clay in Gstaad. In last year’s final, Novak defeated local favorite Roger Federer, who has returned again this year after winning his second consecutive Wimbledon title Sunday.
Novak, who lost in straight sets in the opening round at Wimbledon to Belgian Xavier Malisse, is seeking his third title here after winning in 2001 and 2003. “I’m happy that my good run here is continuing,” said Novak, who began the defense of his title with a 6-3, 6-3 first-round victory over Jose Acasuso on Monday. “Of course I hope to win this title again, but it’s a bit early to be thinking of that. “But I’m playing pretty solid tennis at this altitude. I hope I can keep going.”
Gstaad is 1,050 meters (3,445 feet) above sea level, which makes clay courts very fast. Later in the day, two-time champion Albert Costa of Spain, seeded eighth, played Russia’s Igor Andreev in other second-round play. Costa, who won here in 1996 and 1999, is 17-6 in his ninth appearance at the Alpine tournament.
The Spaniard, who was upset in the opening round last year by Paul Henri Mathieu, is still seeking his first title since winning the French Open in 2002. Andreev’s best season performance was at Roland Garros, where he reached the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Gaston Gaudio. Federer, who won his 24th straight grass-court match in Sunday’s Grand Slam final, has returned to Switzerland to win his first tournament title on home soil. The Swiss hero won his opening-round match Tuesday, 6-1, 6-1 over German Tomas Behrend for his 13th straight victory and his 22nd in his last 23 matches. His second-round match against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia was scheduled Thursday. ap