Melzer, Gulbis in Thailand quarters

Jurgen Melzer reached his 10th quarterfinal of the year with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Dudi Sela of Israel at the Thailand Open on Wednesday.

The third-seeded Austrian, who is enjoying the best season of his career at the age of 29, beat Sela for the third time this year.

”Dudi is a tough opponent. He makes you play a lot of balls. He is very dangerous,” Melzer said. ”I’m pleased with the way I played today.”

In Friday’s quarterfinals, Melzer will meet either seventh-seeded Viktor Troicki or Jarkko Nieminen.

Fourth-seeded Ernests Gulbis survived a grueling match against veteran German Rainer Schuettler to book his place in the quarterfinals, winning 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-4 after 2 hours, 51 minutes.

Two big serves helped the Latvian take the first set tiebreak, but lost his cool in the second set when he was deducted a point for smacking the ball in the air, leaving him 5-3 down in the tiebreak.

”I hit the ball to the air and it was fun,” Gulbis said. ”Everybody likes it. How could he have deducted my point? He shouldn’t make that decision. It was the tiebreak. He should let us play the game.”

Schuettler took advantage to level at one set all, but Gulbis secured the only break of the match early in the decider and that was enough to send him through to Friday’s quarterfinals.

Earlier, 53rd-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain became the first player to reach the quarterfinals after a hard fought 7-5, 6-7 (3), 7-5 victory over France’s Florent Serra that lasted 2 hours, 43 minutes.