Mahut defeats Haas to reach final eight

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BANGKOK, Sep 27 (Reuters) Unseeded Frenchman Nicolas Mahut advanced to the quarter-finals of a depleted Thailand Open after beating fourth seed Tommy Haas 6-4 6-4 today.

Mahut put on an impressive display, hitting nine aces and dropping just seven points on his first serve.

''I feel better now, I have some new confidence,'' said Mahut, who has recently returned from injury.

''I was happy with my service game, I felt confident, I felt comfortable,'' he said.

''I'm at my best when I have a high first serve percentage, because I know I'll play good after that,'' he added.

Haas's exit follows the withdrawal of other seeds Andy Roddick of the United States, Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic of Serbia -- three of the world's top five players.

Mahut will meet eighth-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the final eight after he beat Canadian Frank Dancevic 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Sixth seed Dimitry Tursunov took just over an hour to get past Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-4 6-4.

The Russian was satisfied with his performance and after a difficult opening match, he said he was eager to get this one over with fast.

''I definitely didn't want to stay here for three or four hours,'' he said.

''Yesterday was much more difficult, I wasn't moving well, but today I felt much better. As long as I stay focused, keep forcing myself, I'll have a good chance.'' Seventh seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia had to battle back from a set down to beat German Simon Stadler 6-7 7-6 7-5.

The towering Croatian was on the verge of an early defeat at 3-1 down in a second set tiebreak but turned the match around, blasting over 20 aces for a second day running.

Karlovic will play Czech third seed Tomas Berdych in the last eight after he eased past German Mischa Zverev 6-1 6-4 in just 58 minutes.

''That went much better than expected, things are back to normal for me,'' said Berdych, who had been suffering from jetlag.

Taiwanese qualifier Wang Yeu-tzuoo reached the quarter-finals after beating Australian Nick Lindahl 6-3 6-3 and Benjamin Becker of Germany beat Thai Danai Udomchoke 6-2 6-3.

Reuters PDS DB2242

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