Melzer, Schwank into Kitzbuhel Quarterfinals

Posted on July 17, 2008

Welcome to day five of the Austrian Open, a 571,000 ATP International Series Gold clay-court event in Kitzbuhel. There is plenty of action on the agenda today with matches carried over from Thursday due to rain. Together with four quarterfinal matches, there are three second round matches to be completed. Seeded players in action include No. 2 Rainer Schuettler, No. 4 Potito Strarace, No. 5 Eduardo Schwank, No. 6 Jurgen Melzer and No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro.

The first match of the day on Center Court is a quarterfinal match featuring fifth-seeded Argentine Eduardo Schwank and fourth-seeded Italian Potito Starace in a first-time meeting.

Schwank, 22, recorded his first ATP-level victory at Costa do Sauipe in February, where he went on to reach the quarterfinals (l. to Lapentti). The Rosario resident has since won three titles on the ATP Challenger Circuit and last week reached his first ATP semifinal in Stuttgart (l. to del Potro) to raise his South African Airways ATP Ranking from World No. 171 at the start of the year to a career-high No. 58. The right-hander now stands at 11-8 for the season.

Starace, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Monday, is contesting his fifth ATP quarterfinal of the season and is looking to reach his first semifinal after falling in Buenos Aires (l. to Nalbandian), Acapulco (l. to Nalbandian), Valencia (l. to Robredo) and Bastad (l. to Berdych). Currently No. 61 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Starace will look to go one step further in Kitzbuhel this year after finishing as runner-up to Juan Monaco last season.
The second certain quarterfinal line-up is to be played last match on Centre Court as Romanian Victor Hanescu challenges Argentine Brian Dabul in a first career meeting.

Hanescu, who celebrates his 27th birthday on Tuesday, captured his maiden ATP singles title last week at Gstaad, having defeated World No. 10 Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinals and No. 34 Igor Andreev in the final. The title victory propelled Hanescu up 21 places to No. 59 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. The Bucharest resident had failed to win back-to-back matches on the ATP circuit this season prior to his title run at Gstaad and stands at 12-14 for the year. He is making his second appearance in the quarterfinals at Kitzbuhel, having fallen at this stage to Fernando Verdasco on his last appearance in 2005; he lost second round on his debut in 2003.

Dabul, 24, made his ATP main draw debut at Wimbledon, where he lost in the first round to Feliciano Lopez, before recording his first ATP-level win over Denis Gremelmayr at Stuttgart last week; the former junior World No. 1 went on to lose in the second round to Jan Hernych. The Buenos-Aires resident began the season ranked No. 156 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, but has highlighted his year with a title on the ATP Challenger Circuit in San Luis Potosi and three further Challenger-level semifinals to improve his position to a career-high No. 111.
After persistent rain on Thursday, three second round singles matches are carried forward to be completed on Court Kuchenmeister earlier in the day. See below for possible quarterfinal head-to-heads.

Jan Hernych (CZE) vs (2) Rainer Schuettler (GER) To Be Finished 62 46 32 Winner to face No. 6 seed Jurgen Melzer - World No. 125 Hernych is chasing a place in his second ATP quarterfinal of the season after reaching the last eight in Stuttgart last week (l. to Schwank), while Wimbledon semifinalist Schuettler, No. 34 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, looks to reach the Kitzbuhel quarterfinals for the second time in nine visits; he was a semifinalist in 2004 (l. to Massu).

Sergio Roitman (ARG) vs (7) Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) To Be Finished 26 22 Winner to face Devilder or Peya World No. 103 Roitman is looking to win back-to-back ATP main draw matches for the second time this year and reach his second ATP quarterfinal (l. to Odesnik in Houston). No. 44 del Potro, making his debut in Kitzbuhel, last week won his first ATP singles title in Stuttgart with victory over Richard Gasquet.

Nicolas Devilder (FRA) vs (WC) Alexander Peya (AUT) To Be Finished 64 42 Winner to face Roitman or del Potro World No. 80 Devilder is looking to reach his first ATP quarterfinal of the season after winning two titles on the ATP Challenger Circuit. (ATP Digital Media)