12 Jan 2012

Kohlschreiber, Rochus advance to semifinal

10:52 pm on 12 January 2012

Steady rain on Thursday ended any chances of further play on quarterfinals day at the Heineken Open tennis tournament in Auckland.

Third seed Fernando Verdasco was leading fellow Spaniard and double partner Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 3-1 in the first set when the rain returned.

The pair will resume on centre court at 11am on Friday.

Top seed and defending champion David Ferrer, of Spain, will play his quarter-final at the same time on an outer court against Colombian Alejandro Falla.

At 1pm, the New Zealand doubles pair of Michael Venus and Dan King-Turner will then play their quarterfinal against Santiato Gonzales of Mexico and German Christopher Kas.

Earlier, Philipp Kohlschreiber was the first to gain a place in the semis, beating No 2 seed Nicolas Almagro from Spain.

The first set went to serve and a tiebreak, with the German coming back from 3-1 down to win it 7-6.

The second set was also heading for a tiebreak until eighth seed Kohlschreiber pounced when handed his first chance to break, missing the first at 5-4 and 15-40 up, but converting the second for the 6-4 set and quarterfinal match.

Kohlschreiber won the tournament in 2008 and will play Olivier Rochus in their semifinal on Friday.

The Belgian ended French qualifier Benoit Paire's impressive run in an epic three-setter that was delayed for about two-and-a-half hours by rain on Thursday.

Rochus, who at just 168 centimetres is the shortest man in the tournament, overhauled the big-serving 196-centimetre-tall Paire to win the third set in a tiebreak, taking the match 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(4).