Aisamul Haq Qureshi and his doubles partner Julien Rojer moved into the semi-finals of the Estoril Open with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 win over Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot yesterday.
The quarter-final finished all-square on Thursday when bad light forced players off the court and rain delayed the start yesterday morning. However, Aisam and Rojer, the top seeds at the event, sealed the result in quick time to set up a semi-final showdown with the French duo of Richard Gasquet and Eduardo Roger-Vasselin scheduled to take place late last night.
Aisam’s ranking has plummeted from eighth to 14th at the start of the year as the Pakistani tries to get back into the top-10 to seal his place in the London Olympics.
Gasquet guns into singles semi-finals
Meanwhile, second-seed Gasquet defeated Daniel Munoz-de la Nava 7-6, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the men’s event, his first clay event of the season.
Gasquet, who lost the 2007 final to Novak Djokovic on his last visit to Estoril, beat the lowest-ranked player remaining in the field in number 148 de la Nava. He now faces another Spaniard, Albert Ramos, the fourth-seed who saw off local favourite Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-3.
The second semi-final will be decided at the end of ongoing matches between Swiss third seed Stanislas Wawrinka and Dutchman Robin Haase and two-time champion Albert Montanes of Spain, seeded seventh, and holder Juan Martin del Potro.
Gasquet, competing in his fifth ATP quarter-final of 2012, broke three times in a battle lasting just shy of two hours.
Unheralded fourth-seed Ramos, meanwhile, made it a disappointing afternoon on clay for the local fans as he eliminated the 140th-ranked Sousa in 87 minutes with four breaks of serve and the same number of double-faults from the loser.
Ramos got to the final in Casablanca last month and has now won his 13th match of the year on clay.
Del Potro is competing on clay for the first time on the ATP this season, though he did win a pair of Davis Cup rubbers last month in Argentina’s win over Croatia in Buenos Aires. Wawrinka stands 3-0 over Haase in their series as the Swiss looks for a first clay trophy since Casablanca two years ago.
In the Saturday women’s final, Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, the sixth seed, will take on Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
Both of the winners knocked out Italian competition, with Kanepi upsetting top-seed Roberta Vinci 6-2, 7-5 and Suarez Navarro ousting Karin Knapp 6-4, 6-0.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2012.