Federer survives fight to Finnish in Basel

Basel, October 24:

Roger Federer saw off Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/1) on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the Swiss Indoors.

Federer had to save a set point in ninth game of the first set as Nieminen fought hard to try and win the first set of his career against the world number two after losing 18 dating back to 2002 in Moscow.

Nieminen’s brave game failed him as Federer finally took the opening set and then recovered from an early break in the second for 4-4. He then raced away through a second decider to convert on the first of five more match points, advancing in 90 minutes.

Federer will now play against Italian Simone Bolelli, who beat Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-2. American James Blake kept up his hopes of making the ATP season-ending championship

when he defeated Spain’s Oscar Hernandez 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-4. The fourth seed Blake will take on Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Second seed David Nalbandian subdued qualifier Kristof Vliegen, posting a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7/4) win. Nalbandian lifted the Basel title in 2002 and is playing the indoor event for the seventh time in Roger Federer’s hometown. He next faces German Benjamin Becker.

St Petersburg Open

SAINT PETERSBURG: Andy Murray, top seed and defending champion of the one-million-dollar ATP event Saint Petersburg Open, breezed into the last eight past Ernests Gulbis of Latvia. The 21-year-old Murray, the world number four, won 6-4, 6-2 in one hour one minute to record his second win over Gulbis in as many meetings. In a showdown for a place in the last four, Murray will meet Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic, who ousted Jeremy Chardy of France in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).

Kazakhstan qualifier Andrey Golubev upset the local crowd’s favourite Marat Safin, two-time champion here (2000-01), winning 6-4, 6-2 to reach his first quarter-final. Golubev will now face Mischa Zverev of Germany, who upset another Russian Mikhail Youzhny, seeded fourth, 7-5, 6-4.