Djokovic gets free ride

ROTTERDAM: Novak Djokovic earned a free trip into the semi-finals of the Rotterdam Open on Thursday, benefitting as his second opponent in three matches this week proved unable to take to the court.

Only 48 hours after Sergiy Stakhovsky was unable to complete his first-round contest with Djokovic, German Florian Meyer withdrew with a hamstring tear a day before his Friday’s quarter-final match with the Serb top seed.

The top seed paved the way for a sweep of the leading players into the last eight, with third seed Gael Monfils joining in with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Holland’s Thiemo de Bakker. Second seed Nikolay Davydenko completed the winning trio with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of crowd-pleaser Marcos Baghdatis in their second-round clash. Russian sixth seed Mikhail Youzhny, the 2007 winner, also advanced easily over Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan 6-4, 6-4. Julien Benneteau earned another victory for France through his defeat of German Michael Berrer 6-4, 6-4.

SAP Open

SAN JOSE: Top-seeded American Andy Roddick reached the quarter-finals of the SAP Open with

a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer. Roddick lined

up a quarter-final clash with

fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych. Roddick broke Mayer for a 5-3 lead in the first set, and as the American took control, Mayer was clearly frustrated.

Ricardas Berankis, ranked

255th in the world, made a bit of ATP history when he became the first Lithuanian-born player to reach a tour-level quarter-final. He upset Germany’s Bjorn Phau, ranked 126th in the world, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3. Berankis will play second-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, a 7-5, 6-2 winner over Germany’s Benjamin Becker.

Seventh-seeded American Sam Querrey beat compatriot Taylor Dent, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to

a quarter-final clash with American Michael Russell, who beat

Belgian Xavier Malisse 6-4, 7-5.

In the remaining quarter-final, Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin will face sixth-seded German Philipp Kohlshreiber.

Paris Indoor Open

PARIS: Germany’s Andrea Petkovic ended French interest in the WTA Paris Indoor Open by beating fifth-seeded Andrea Rezai to set up a quarter-final clash with top seed Elena Dementieva of Russia. World No 49 Petkovic, who wants to set up her own political party when she retires from tennis,

took the first set 6-3 before

Rezai snatched the second set by the same scoreline. But it was

the 22-year-old Bosnian-born German who prevailed by winning the third set 6-3. Dementieva booked her place in the last eight on Wednesday when she knocked out fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

In other games, Hungary’s Agnes Szavay brushed aside Croatian challenger Petra Martic in straight sets, winning 6-2 6-4. Israel’s Shahar Peer, the sixth

seed, piled on the agony for Croatian fans when she took out qualifier Karolina Sprem in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. The Israeli No 1 and World No 22 will now play the Czech

Republic’s Lucie Safarova, who

defeated fourth seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy 7-5, 6-2.