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John Isner, Monfils Advance At Legg Mason Classic

PTI 12 Aug 2011, 11:15:28 IST

Washington, Aug 5 : John Isner edged neighbor, friend and doubles partner James Blake 7-6 (0), 1-6, 7-6 (4) Thursday in a match delayed a day by rain to reach the quarterfinals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

The 11th-seeded Isner hit 13 aces and overcame 46 unforced errors, including seven double-faults, to beat Blake for the second time in a two-week span. Isner also needed three sets to beat Blake at Atlanta last month, the first time they faced each other on the professional tour.

Because rain wiped out half of Wednesday's schedule, the tournament began matches Thursday at noon, four hours earlier than scheduled, and some players were forced to play twice in one day.

Top-seeded Gael Monfils, for example, faced 15th-seeded Dmitry Tursunov of Russia in the third round at night, after having defeated 66th-ranked Ryan Sweeting of the United States 6-3, 7-6 (3) at the start of the day.

No. 5-seeded Fernando Verdasco—one of the lucky ones who didn't need to play twice—got to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over No. 9 Nikolay Davydenko.

Also reaching the quarterfinals was unseeded Donald Young, who beat Michael Russell 6-3, 6-3 in an all-American matchup. Young now meets No. 7-seeded Marcos Baghdatis, the 2010 runner-up, who won two three-set matches Thursday.

Baghdatis first defeated Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 0-6, 7-5, then eliminated No. 12 Thomaz Bellucci 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

It was Monfils' first match at Washington's hard-court U.S. Open tuneup since 2007, when he reached the semifinals.

In another early match, 10th-seeded Michael Llodra of France quit because of sore ribs while trailing Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 4-3. Llodra joined a growing list of seeded players who either stopped playing—No. 4 Jurgen Melzer and No. 14 Xavier Malisse—or never played a point—Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Fernando Gonzalez—at the tournament, citing injuries.

Dimitrov's next opponent was No. 6-seeded Janko Tipsarevic, a 6-3, 6-4 winner against Michael Berrer. AP