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Robredo ousts Kuerten
- Coria, Costa make quarters

Paris: Juan Carlos Ferrero stormed into his fourth successive French Open quarter final when he beat fellow Spaniard Felix Mantilla 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 Monday.

Spaniard Tommy Robredo ousted three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten 6-4, 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 in another fourth-round match.

Brazilian Kuerten, the 1997, 2000 and 2001 winner, saved four match-points before bowing to the 28th seed after two hours and 46 minutes.

Robredo, who beat world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the previous round, had never before made it to the last eight of a Grand Slam.

Defending champion Albert Costa of Spain also roared into the quarter finals with a clinical 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 victory over home favourite Arnaud Clement. The 27-year-old Catalan had been taken to five sets in each of the previous three rounds but hit top gear against world number 36 Clement, who failed to respond to the backing of the Parisian crowd on centre court.

Ferrero, the third seed and last year’s losing finalist spent only 100 minutes on court. He has reached at least the semi-finals in his three previous appearances at Roland Garros.

“I didn’t do any mistakes,” Ferrero said. “I was very solid. To play the rest of the tournament like this would be fantastic.”

Ferrero, who lost to Costa last year in the final, said he should benefit this week from playing only 12 sets in his first four matches.

“I’m very fresh,” he said. “Physically I’m playing much better than last year here. It’s important to be fresh the second week of the tournament.”

In the last eight, Ferrero will meet Fernando Gonzalez, who proved there is more to Chilean tennis than Marcelo Rios.

The 22-year-old from Santiago dispatched Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 on Centre Court Monday to set up a last-eight meeting with Spanish third seed Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Gonzalez, the 19th seed and world No. 20, showed he was ready to pick up the mantle from Rios last year when he reached the last eight of the US Open before falling to Sjeng Schalken, his injury-hit third-round victim at Roland Garros this year.

The Chilean needed only 92 minutes to see off his Finnish opponent with a scintillating claycourt display under drab skies in the French capital.

His clash with Ferrero in the last eight will be a rematch of the 1998 boys’ singles final here which he won 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Gonzalez also beat Ferrero twice last year.

Seventh seed Guillermo Coria overcame stubborn compatriot Mariano Zabaleta in five sets to reach the quarters. Coria’s 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, 6-3 fourth-round win took four hours 41 minutes over two days. The 21-year-old clay specialist will play his first Grand Slam quarter final against second seed Andre Agassi.

Coria led two sets to one overnight but lost the fourth set on a tiebreak to Zabaleta, the world No. 39.

Coria’s consistency proved too solid in the deciding set, however, and Zabaleta surrendered his serve and the match with a tame backhand into the net on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

MEN’S QUARTERS LINE-UP

- Albert Costa vs Tommy Robredo

- Juan Carlos Ferrero vs Fernando Gonzalez

- Carlos Moya vs Martin Verkerk

- Andre Agassi vs Guillermo Coria

(Reuters)

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