Kuerten advances to quarter-finals

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The Independent Online

Gustavo Kuerten, of Brazil, the second seed, advanced to the quarter-finals of the TD Waterhouse Cup on Long Island, New York, with a 7-5, 6-3 second round win over Karol Beck, of Slovakia.

Kuerten, who was the world No 1 in the final ATP rankings three years ago, has gone 14 tournaments without taking a title and has made it to just one final since winning the International Series in Auckland, New Zealand, in January.

However, this week he appeared to be getting back into form once again as he prepares for next week's US Open. "Finally my competitive spirit has come alive and I'm winning again," Kuerten said. "I felt that I was in a good rhythm. I had a lot of confidence in my game."

The three-time French Open winner next meets the Moroccan seventh seed, Younes El Aynaoui, who advanced when the South African Rik De Voest had to retire from their second round match due to a groin injury with El Aynaoui leading 7-6, 3-0.

Two other seeded players were not so fortunate in second round play, however. The third seed, Tommy Robredo of Spain, lost to James Blake, the crowd favourite, when the American recorded a relatively easy triumph, beating Robredo 6-4, 6-3. "Tommy is an excellent player, but I took away some of his strengths and that made me more effective," Blake said.

Also bowing out was the sixth seed, Agustin Calleri of Argentina, who was beaten 6-1 6-4 by Jarkko Nieminen of Finland. The defending champion and top seed, the Thai Paradorn Srichaphan, was playing his second round match against Sargis Sargsian, of Armenia, last night.