Hewitt dumped by Schuettler; Gasquet, Santoro, Rochus in semis

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Mumbai, Sep 28 (UNI) Second seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia was bumped off in the quarterfinals by unseeded Rainer Schuettler of Germany in straight sets in the 416,000 dollars Kingfisher Airlines Open tennis tournament at the CCI hard courts here today.

Schuettler won at 6-3, 7-5 to make the semifinals where he will meet Olivier Rochus of Belgiam.

The former world number 1 Hewitt who was coming out of an illness and had played two matches yesterday seemed to be slow in his moments on court and surrendered the first set to the unseeded Belgiam at 3-6.

Hewitt, however, known for his fighting spirit and never say die attitude on court made a valiant bid in the second set to go up at 4-1 but surrendered it as Schuettler playing superb tennis with some rasping down the line passing shots caught up with Hewitt at 5-5 and then broke the Australian to go up 6-5.

Serving out for the match Schuettler went down 0-30 but fought back with some superb passing shots and huge serves to win the game and with it the match for a place in the semis where he will meet eighth seed Olivier Rochus.

Earlier in the day fifth seed Fabrice Santoro of France caused a mini upset when he beat fourth seed J Nieminen of Finland in straight sets to enter the semifinals winning at 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 21 minutes.

Santoro will now meet top seed Richard Gasquet who easily accounted for the sixth seed S Koubek pf Austria in straights sets at 6-2, 6-4 in a match lasting just over the hour mark.

Though the scoreline suggested an easy win for Santoro, the match was much more closer than that with the Frenchman having to battle through every point in hot and humid conditions of Mumbai.

It was Nieminen who got the first break of serve in the third game of the first set to go up 2-1. However, Santoro got onto a roll winning the next four games to go up 5-2. The French veteran of the tour used the chips and sliced forehand to telling event to wrap up the first set at 6-3.

The second set saw both players trade early breaks However, the games went on serve after that till 4-4 when Santoro got the all important break to go up 5-4 and then served out the match to emerge victorious at 6-3, 6-4.

Santoro admitted after the match that it was a very tough match, though he won in straight sets. The conditions were tough with the humidity levels making it difficult to recover between points.

In another quarterfinal match eight seed Olivier Rochus defeated wildcarder Nicolas Kiefer when the latter had to retire due to stomach cramps with the eighth seed leading 4-1 in the first set.

Speaking to the media later, Rochus said that it was nice to have a short match specially after the long match I had yesterday.

The five games which we played were very tough and the score could have been anything, he said, adding, that he was feeling good on court and was looking forward to his semifinal match with his confidence level on a high.

Results: Singles quarterfinals: Fabrice Santoro (Fra) beat J Nieminen (Fin) 6-3, 6-4; Olivier Rochus (Bel) beat Nicolas Kiefer (France) 4-1 (Kiefer retired due to injury); R Gasquet (Fra) beat S Koubek (Swe) 6-2, 6-4, Rainer Schuettler (Ger) beat Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) 6-3, 7-5.


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