Fourth seed Mikhail Youzhny reached the quarter-finals for the second straight year after he battled past Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 5-7, 7-5 in one hour and 55 minutes.
Youzhny, currently No. 9 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings and bidding for a place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, notched his 36th win of the season after hitting 10 aces and saving eight of 10 break points.
Sixth seed Marcos Baghdatis hit 10 aces past Santiago Giraldo for a 7-5, 7-5 win over one hour and 45 minutes. Baghdatis lifted the Medibank International Sydney title (d. Gasquet ) in January.
He said of facing Youzhny in his next match: "It will be tough. We’ve played each other five times and he’s ahead 3-2. It will be tough but if I play good, then I think I have a chance to win."
Youzhny, Baghdatis square off in Kuala Lumpur quarters
9/30/10 4:31 PM | Ricky Dimon
A semifinal berth will be at stake when Mikhail Youzhny and Marcos Baghdatis meet in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. This is the sixth career meeting between the two players.
Mikhail Youzhny and Marcos Baghdatis will be facing each other for the sixth time in their careers when they do battle in the quarterfinals of the Malaysian Open on Friday.
Interestingly, their most recent encounter came in the second round of this event last year. Youzhny prevailed in that one 6-2, 6-3 to take a 3-2 head-to-head series lead over Baghdatis. On hard courts, however, Baghdatis still leads 2-1 as two of Youzhny's victories came on grass (Wimbledon 2005 and Queen's Club 2009).
While last season's results went convincingly in Youzhny's favor, Baghdatis is a much different player now. The Cypriot enjoyed a stellar summer, reaching the the Washington final, the Cincinnati semis (upset Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals), and the New Haven quarters before losing steam in a U.S. Open first-round loss to Arnaud Clement. Baghdatis is 39-22 for his 2010 campaign following straight-set wins over Kei Nishikori and Santiago Giraldo so far this week.
Youzhny is also in outstanding form at the moment. He slumped throughout 2008 and the early stages of 2009, but he is back in the Top 10 at No. 9 in the world. The Russian is 36-15 for the season and coming off a semifinal performance at the U.S. Open. Kuala Lumpur's No. 4 seed kicked off his week with a hard-fought 6-1, 5-7, 7-5 victory over Aleksandr Dolgopolov.
"It will be tough," Baghdatis assured. "We’ve played each other five times and he’s ahead 3-2. It will be tough, but if I play good then I think I have a chance to win."
Two of he best backhands in the game will be on display for this one; Youzhny's one-hander and Baghdatis' two-hander. Whichever shot is working the best could tip the scales ever so slightly in that player's favor. Based on his U.S. Open showing and recent head-to-head history, Youzhny in three tight sets is the pick.
....... MONO ΛΙΓΟ ΚΑΙΡΟ ΞΑΠΟΣΤΑΙΝΕΙ, ΚΑΙ ΞΑΝΑ ΠΡΟΣ ΤΗ ΔΟΞΑ ΤΡΑΒΑ .......