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November 6, 2009

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Federer has easy ride to quarterfinals

THREE-TIME defending champion Roger Federer cruised into the Swiss Indoors quarterfinals by beating Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 6-3 in Basel on Wednesday.

Federer served solidly to make it six matches against the 51st-ranked Seppi without dropping a set.

"It was a bit tougher (than the first round), but I was able to raise my game at a few crucial moments and that was the difference," said Federer, who rested through October. "I recuperated and worked a bit to get in shape and can play maybe this (late in the) season in good health, which last year wasn't the case."

Fifth-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic missed all 16 break points but still beat lucky loser Florent Serra of France 3-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (1) to advance.

In the first round, fourth-seeded Marin Cilic beat Philipp Petzschner of Germany 6-4, 6-4 to keep alive his chances of qualifying for the ATP Tour finals in London.

The Croat, a wildcard entry, likely needs to win the Swiss Indoors and do well at the Paris Masters next week to make the eight-player lineup at London. He is currently 12th.

Third-seeded Fernando Gonzalez began play 10th on the list, but the Chilean lost 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 to John Isner of the United States in the late match.

In other first-round action, Stanislas Wawrinka rallied to beat Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, last week's winner in Lyon, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

Ljubicic was the last man to beat Federer at his home event in 2003.

Jeremy Chardy toughed out a 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-4 victory over seventh seed James Blake from the US.

The Frenchman sent down 24 aces and got the only service break of the match to open the third set.

In Spain, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired in the first round of the Valencia Open on Tuesday with a wrist injury while trailing 6-7 (3), 6-0, 3-0 to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

Fifth-seeded Gilles Simon of France defeated Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to become the first player to reach the quarterfinals.

Fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils wasn't able to reach the last eight as the sixth-seeded player was upset by local favorite Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 7-5.

In another first-round match, fourth-seeded Fernando Verdasco won after fellow Spaniard Oscar Hernandez retired while trailing 6-1, 0-1.


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