Federer downs Suzuki to reach semi-finals

Tokyo, October 6:

Roger Federer rallied from a shaky start Friday to edge Takao Suzuki 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) and advance to the Japan Open semi-finals. Struggling with his return, Federer dropped the first set to Suzuki, who recently recovered from a shoulder injury and is playing in his first ATP tournament since the Australian Open in January.

The top-ranked player found his rhythm in the second set and broke Suzuki for the first time in the final game after being down 30-love. Suzuki, ranked 1,078th in the world, kept pace with Federer in the third set, holding serve in the 12th game to force the tiebreaker.

Federer will next face German No 14 Benjamin Becker, who defeated fifth-ranked Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-4. Britain’s Tim Henman completed his second match of the day when he beat Mario Ancic of Croatia 6-2, 6-2 in Friday’s late quarter-final and will face South Korea’s Lee Hyung-taik.

In his first match, Henman defeated Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6 (3), 6-3. South Korean No. 9 Lee knocked out second-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.

In women’s matches, top seeded Marion Bartoli of France entered the last four beating Russia’s Vera Dushvina 6-2, 6-4 before downing Junri Namigata of Japan 6-2, 6-1 in quarters.

Porsche GP

STUTTGART: A cramping Jelena Jankovic needed medical treatment to help her overcome Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the second round of the Porsche Grand Prix.

Earlier, fourth-seeded Nadia Petrova cruised into the quarter-finals by beating German Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-3, 6-4. Fifth-seeded Patty Schnyder needed five match points to top Shahar Peer 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-4, while sixth-seeded Dinara Safina lost to Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-2.

Lisa Raymond, who took Amelie Mauresmo’s place after the top-ranked French withdrew due to injury, lost to Michaella Krajicek 6-4, 6-2.

Open de Moselle

METZ: Former No 1 Marat Safin couldn’t stop Jurgen Melzer, losing the second-round match 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the Open de Moselle. Richard Gasquet lost to French countryman Arnaud Clement 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 7-5.

Clement will meet Sebastien Grosjean in quarter-finals, after Grosjean dispatched Julien Benneteau 7-5, 6-1. Four Frenchmen reached the quarter-finals but they’re paired off against each other: The other pits Marc Gicquel against Florent Serra.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat Daniele Bracciali of Italy 6-0, 6-3, and Mardy Fish of the US and German Tobias Clemens also won second-round matches.