Published February 18, 2010
MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Top seed Robin Soderling advanced to the quarterfinals at the Open 13 with a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 win Thursday over Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine.
Soderling hit 16 aces to Stakhovsky's 20 and converted his only two break chances, while Stakhovsky missed all four of his, all in the second set.
"He served really well," Soderling said. "I started to play better and better as the match went on. At the end, I think I played OK."
Illya Marchenko of Ukraine and Frenchmen Gael Monfils and Guillaume Rufin joined the Swede in the last eight.
The third-seeded Monfils edged Andreas Seppi of Italy 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (3) and Rufin, a wild card, beat Belgian qualifier Yannick Mertens 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to reach his first quarterfinals on the ATP Tour. Lucky loser Marchenko outlasted Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
Soderling broke Stakhovsky at 1-1 in the final set and finally won in just under two hours when the Ukrainian sent his backhand return into the net.
The French Open finalist struggled with his serve early, double-faulting at 5-5 in the tiebreaker to give Stakhovsky a set point that he converted with an ace.
Soderling broke for a 2-0 lead in the second with a backhand return winner, and two straight service winners helped level the match at one set apiece.
"I always play well in France," Soderling said. "I don't know why, but I like it."
The Rotterdam champion will next face 2009 finalist Michael Llodra of France, while Rufin will play Mischa Zverev of Germany.
The 19-year-old Rufin is one of the most improved players on the circuit, jumping from 1,046th in the world rankings a year ago to 154th this week.
Monfils won fewer points than Seppi and never managed to break the Italian, but he made the difference in the two tiebreakers.
"I had some success in the tiebreakers, I let my shots go," Monfils said. "But I'm a bit disappointed by my performance. I didn't play some nice tennis."
Seppi jumped to a 3-0 lead and held serve to take the second set.