Mixed fortunes for Aussies at LA Open

Australia’s Marinko Matosevic will face American Michael Russell for a place in the semi-finals of the Los Angeles Open on Friday.

The sixth-seeded Victorian, who is ranked No.81 in the world, defeated Germany’s Tobias Kamke 6-3 1-6 6-0 to book his spot in the last eight of the ATP event.

However, Belgian veteran Xavier Malisse sent Australia’s No.2 Matthew Ebden crashing 6-4 6-3.

Malisse, who is into his third quarter-final at the UCLA campus facility, had snapped a losing streak here going back to 2005 when he won his opening match on Tuesday.

Last-minute technique changes resulted in a superlative 90 per cent average on first serves, an instant dividend for the 32-year-old ranked 72nd in the world.

“We’ve been working on changing my serving,” said Malisse, who will next play two-time champion Sam Querrey of the US, the second seed.

American Russell beat an out-of-sorts top seed Benoit Paire 7-5 6-4 opening to set up a meeting with the world No.81.

Russell, ranked 83rd, said that he faced a mental and physical battle against the unpredictable Paire.

“It was extremely difficult, You never know what to expect from him. He keeps you out of your rhythm.”

Paire, ranked 50th in the world, committed 38 unforced errors while losing his serve five times in the first set.

The Frenchman also failed to sit down on several changeovers, often holding his right abdomen.

Other times he applied ice to the area and he fired eight double-faults – three in one game – to keep the contest off-balance throughout.

French fourth seed Nicolas Mahut was more stable, booking his second quarter-final of the season by beating Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 7-5 7-6 (9-7).

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