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Ljubicic, Ancic Headline Thursday Play in Zagreb
Posted on February 28, 2008
The first quarterfinal, starting not before 2pm, sees eighth-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic take on Ukrainian lucky loser Sergiy Stakhovsky in a first time meeting. World No. 44 Tipsarevic, who defeated Mischa Zverev and Roko Karanusic earlier in the week, is appearing in Zagreb for just the second time having lost first round to Thomas Johansson on his debut last season. The 23-year-old Serbian is contesting his first ATP-level quarterfinal since 2007 Moscow where he went on to reach the semifinals (l. to Davydenko). The Belgrade native had a good start to 2008, reaching the Australian Open third round for the first time where he stretched World No. 1 Roger Federer to 10-8 in the fifth set, having led by two sets to one. World No. 209 Stakhovsky was granted entrance into the main draw as a lucky loser, having lost to Kavcic in the final round of qualifying. He has gone on to record his first two ATP-level match wins of the season over No. 2 seed Ivo Karlovic and Viktor Troicki to reach his first ATP-level quarterfinal since 2005 Milan (l. to Soderling). The 22-year-old, who is making his debut in Zagreb, has beaten a Top 50 player just once before, against No. 29 Mario Ancic in the 2005 Milan second round.
Starting not before 4.45pm, top-seeded Croatian Ivan Ljubicic faces unseeded Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili in a first time meeting. World No. 25 Ljubicic (former No. 3, 1-May-06) has a lifetime tournament record of 11-1, capturing the title on his debut in 2006 (d. Koubek) and finishing runner-up last season (l. to Marcos Baghdatis). The 28-year-old is bidding to reach his second semifinal of the season, having made the final four in Doha (l. to Wawrinka) at the start of the campaign. World No. 125 Gabashvili is through to his second quarterfinal of the season; he reached his first in Rotterdam last week (l. to Simon). The 22-year-old, who is making his debut in Zagreb, defeated Florian Mayer and Rik De Voest earlier in the week. He is 1-1 against Top 25 players this season, falling to No. 17 Carlos Moya in the first round in Chennai, but defeating No. 20 Juan Carlos Ferrero in the first round of Rotterdam last week.
Following is an all-unseeded clash between Dutchman Robin Haase and Croatian Mario Ancic, who are meeting for the first time. World No. 79 Haase is contesting his third quarterfinal of 2008 (0-2), having reached the last eight in Chennai (l. to Cilic) and last week in Rotterdam (l. to eventual champion Llodra). The 20-year-old, who is making his debut in Zagreb, recorded victories over Michael Berrer and No. 3 seed Gilles Simon in the first two rounds this week. World No. 92 Ancic reached the final in Marseille last week, finishing runner-up to Andy Murray on his return to the ATP circuit after having been sidelined for the first month of the year with a stomach illness. The former Top 10 player missed six months of 2007 with mononucleosis, which caused his ranking to slide down from No. 9 at the start of the year. The 23-year-old is through to the quarterfinals in Zagreb for the first time with victories over No. 6 seed Nicolas Mahut and Denis Gremelmayr; he lost to compatriot Ivo Karlovic on his debut two years ago.
Rounding out the day’s play, is an all-unseeded clash between Italian Simone Bolelli and Belgian Olivier Rochus; the two have never met before. World No. 66 Bolelli is contesting his career first ATP quarterfinal after defeating Rainer Schuettler and No. 5 seed Marin Cilic in the first two rounds. The 22-year-old had won just one ATP-level match this season coming into Zagreb, reaching the second round of the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic). The 27-year-old Rochus, who is making his debut in Zagreb, advanced to the second round when fourth seed Fabrice Santoro was forced to retire, before defeating Stefan Koubek to make the quarterfinals. The World No. 62 last reached an ATP-level quarterfinal in Lyon last year (l. to Tsonga). Coming into Zagreb he was 1-4 on the season, reaching the second round in Auckland (l. to Monaco), but losing first round in his other three events. (ATP Digital Services)