11 Jan 2012

Belgian into quarterfinals after marathon match

10:27 pm on 11 January 2012

Olivier Rochus battled his way to a quarterfinal place in a marathon tennis match at the Heineken Open in Auckland.

The Belgian needed three hours, 13 minutes and two tiebreaks to beat sixth seed Thomaz Belluci from Brazil 7-6(6) 5-7 7-6(5) at Stanley Street on Wednesday.

Colombia's Alejandro Falla was the first player into the last eight, defeating Italy's Potito Starace in straight sets 7-6(3) 6-3.

He was quickly followed by second seed Nicolas Almagro, of Spain, with an easy win over Colombia's Santiago Giraldo 6-4 6-2, a Radio New Zealand sports journalist reports.

Defending champion David Ferrer from Spain also had no problems in his opening match, beating Czech Lukas Rosol 6-4 6-2, while compatriot Guillermo Garcia Lopez ended French qualifier Adrian Mannarino's run 6-2 6-3.

Impressive French qualifier Benoit Paire needed three sets to upset fourth-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela from Argentina 5-7 6-2 6-2.

Former champion Phillip Kohlschreiber beat rising American teenager Ryan Harrison in another three-setter, 4-6 6-4 6-3, in just under two hours.

The German won the tournament in 2008 and only failed to make the quarters once in his seven previous visits to Auckland.

In the last match of the day, third seed Fernando Verdasco, of Spain, was pushed by Argentina's Carlos Berlocq to a tiebreak in the second set before taking the match 7-5 7-6(3) in just over two hours.