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Kuerten reaches quarters; Coria withdraws in Auckland

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Auckland, New Zealand (Sports Network) - Third-seeded and defending champion moved into the quarterfinals, but top-seeded Argentine pulled out of his scheduled second-round match Wednesday at the $404,000 Heineken Open. Coria was slated to meet 2003 Auckland runner-up , but the world No. 5 star decided against playing, citing an abdominal strain injury. The Slovakian Hrbaty, fresh off his title in Adelaide last week, advanced via walkover.

The three-time French Open champion Kuerten easily defeated Spaniard 6-2, 6-4 to set-up a quarterfinal match against fifth-seeded American , an easy 6-1, 6-2 victor over Dutchman Fred Hemmes Jr.

Kuerten titled here a year ago by beating Hrbaty 6-3, 7-5 in the final. Hrbaty was the champion here in 2001.

Second-seeded Czech also landed in the quarters after handling Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. Novak was the 1996 Auckland titlist.

An upset came when German Philipp Kohlschreiber took out sixth-seeded Argentine 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 at ASB Bank Tennis Centre.

In other second-round action, rapidly-rising Spaniard Rafael Nadal held off hard-serving Croatian Mario Ancic 7-6 (7-0), 7-6 (8-6), Gregory Carraz topped fellow Frenchman 6-2, 6-4 and Dutchman Raemon Sluiter downed Spaniard 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Thursday's other quarterfinals will pit Novak against Sluiter, Nadal versus Carraz and Hrbaty against Kohlschreiber. Hrbaty defeated Frenchman in last week's AAPT Championships final.

The winner of this final hardcourt Australian Open tune-up will pocket $48,600.

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