Jarkko Nieminen of Finland beat fifth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 7-6 (8) in the second round of the Open Sud de France on Wednesday, defeating the Russian for the first time in 10 years and reaching his second quarterfinal of the season.
Davydenko had won their previous four matches, with Nieminen’s last win coming on clay at the Rome Masters in 2003. Nieminen broke Davydenko’s serve three times in the match, and will next face either Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine or Japan’s Tatsuma Ito.
Eighth-seeded Benoit Paire of France also advanced to the last eight, saving one match point on his way to a 4-6, 7-6 (11), 6-4 win against Belgium’s Steve Darcis. He next plays either qualifier Arnau Brugues-Davi of Spain or fourth-seeded Gilles Simon of France.
In first-round play, sixth-seeded Julien Benneteau of France led 6-3, 4-2 when Romania’s Adrian Ungur retired with a thigh injury, seventh-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia beat Lucas Pouille of France 6-4, 7-5 and Brugues-Davi of Spain ousted Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Benneteau plays another Romanian, Victor Hanescu, in the second round.
”He’s the same style of player, but much more dangerous,” Benneteau said of Hanescu. ”I have to read his serve well as I think I returned quite softly today. I will need to improve that because it will be another level tomorrow.”
Ito defeated Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 to reach the second round, while Michael Llodra beat Kenny De Schepper 6-3, 6-3 in an all-French match to set up a meeting with second-seeded Janko Tipsarevic.