Originally created 05/13/05

Federer reaches quarters in Hamburg



HAMBURG, Germany - Top-ranked Roger Federer moved closer to his sixth title of the year Thursday, beating Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Hamburg Masters.

Juan Ignacio Chela rallied past fifth-seeded Tim Henman 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, and French teenager Richard Gasquet routed Dominik Hrbaty 6-1, 6-2 in this clay-court tuneup for the French Open, which begins May 23.

Guillermo Coria, seeded 10th, stopped Mario Ancic 6-4, 6-3, and 15th-seeded Nikolay Davydenko recovered to oust Juan Carlos Ferrero 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Federer, 38-2 for the year, is playing his first tournament after a three-week break to rest swollen feet. The Swiss star will next meet Coria in a repeat of last year's final.

Andreas Seppi defeated Jiri Novak 6-3, 6-4 and will play Gasquet in the quarterfinals, ensuring at least one qualifier in the semifinals.

"This is my first quarterfinal and this tournament is becoming special," said Seppi, a third-year pro. "This is the first time my mother is with me in a tournament and maybe she's brought me luck. She keeps on having to extend her vacation."

Seppi's Italian countryman, Filippo Volandri, also advanced by beating Sebastien Grosjean 6-3, 6-4 and next plays Davydenko.

Federer, the defending Hamburg champion, ended the match with a volley winner, finishing with 21 winners to only five for the 14th-seeded Robredo.

"I always felt I was in control, I always felt I could vary my game, come to the net when I needed," Federer said.

Coria has been in the previous two Masters Series finals on clay - in Monte Carlo and Rome - losing both times to Rafael Nadal. He has a 14-1 record in Hamburg, winning the title in 2003 and losing last year's final to Federer.

Henman had saved five match points before losing when he missed an overhead smash. In the second set, Henman disputed a call that allowed Chela's second serve to stand. Henman said it was a double-fault. Instead of the Englishman going a break up and leading 5-4, Chela held serve. From then, Chela was in command.

"It was bad timing," Henman said. "It happens but it didn't improve my mood. I became more cautious on some points and too aggressive on others."

"He also played a part in it," Henman added. "He became more aggressive, dictated the rallies in the third set, and when I am pushed back there is not much I can do."

Gasquet, who defeated Federer in the Monte Carlo quarterfinals last month, was impressive against the experienced Hrbaty.

"I made few errors, I varied my game. You can't really play much better," Gasquet said. "I covered the court well, I also served well. There are days like this, no mistakes. I played a very solid match."

Ferrero, a former French Open champion and top-ranked player, had to play two qualifying rounds in Hamburg after being refused a wild card. The Spaniard missed five months last year with chicken pox and wrist and rib injuries and fell in the rankings.