Blake reaches Stockholm quarters

Two-time defending champion James Blake beat Frank Dancevic 6-3, 6-2 to set up a quarterfinal meeting against last year's finalist Jarkko Nieminen.

updated: October 14, 2007 15:10 IST
  • Total Shares


Two-time defending champion James Blake beat Frank Dancevic 6-3, 6-2 on Thursday to set up a quarterfinal meeting against last year's finalist Jarkko Nieminen.

With the win, the top-seeded American improved his unbeaten record to 12-0 at the Royal Tennis Hall.

No one has won the Stockholm Open, one of the oldest ATP events indoors, three straight times.

John McEnroe and Boris Becker each won four times, but never three in a row.

Blake, who helped the United States beat Sweden in the Davis Cup semifinals in Goteborg, Sweden, last month, broke Dancevic's serve for 5-3 in the opening set and then held serve.

The American broke the Canadian's serve early in the second set and then broke him again to lead 5-2 in the second.

"I was taking chances on some returns and they worked out, it's a good feeling that's why I'm playing my best when I'm taking those chances, and they just proved that oncce again," Blake said.

Blake expects a much tougher match against Nieminen on Friday.

"He has the ability to beat anyone in the world," Blake said. "He moves well, he returns well. I think I've played him four times, we've had really good matches."

Nieminen is a lefthander. Blake is 27-8 overall against left-handers, and 6-0 this year.

Earlier, Nieminen and Mario Ancic won their second-round matches in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals.

Nieminen, a two-time finalist in the indoor tournament, won eight straight games en route to a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Peter Luczak, and Ancic beat Bjorn Rehnquist 6-1, 6-3.

Nieminen, who has lost just seven games in his first two matches, faced six break points during the match and saved them all. In the first set, the Finn lost only eight points.

"It feels very good to win," Nieminen said. "I was the favorite in this match, and lost only a few games. I played the first set almost perfectly. In the second I was very close to a double break to 4-1 and that could have killed the match right there.

"Then he played more aggressive. He had nothing to lose. He can play after all."

Nieminen, seeded sixth, will play either top-seeded James Blake or Frank Dancevic in the quarters. Last year, Nieminen lost to Blake in the final. Nieminen also was a finalist in 2001.

The hard-serving Ancic, playing only his fifth tournament since February, never faced a break point against the 306th-ranked Rehnquist, who got into the main draw as a lucky loser after the qualifying event last weekend.

Ancic will play former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson in Friday's quarterfinals. Johansson beat Michael Llodra 6-4, 7-6 (10).

In the other quarterfinals, Arnaud Clement will face Ivo Karlovic, and Juan Monaco will take on Tommy Haas.

Clement outlasted Michael Ryderstedt 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3 and Karlovic advanced when Joachim Johansson withdrew because of illness.

Monaco and Haas won their second-round matches Wednesday.