Old dog Malisse serves up new trick in LA
Date published :
27 Jul 2012 - 01:16:46
Xavier Malisse reached the quarter-finals of the Los Angles Open after some last-minute changes to his serve which the fifth seed used to overpower Aussie Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-3 Thursday.
Malisse, who is into his third quarter-final at the UCLA campus facility, had snapped a losing streak here going back to 2005 when he won his opening match on Tuesday.
The brave last-minute technique modification resulted in a superlative 90 per cent average on first serves, an instant dividend for the 32-year-old ranked 72nd in the world.
"We've been working on changing my serving technique," said Malisse, who will next play two-time champion Sam Querrey of the US, the second seed.
"We only really changed it this morning, but I worked on it a bit in doubles (Wednesday). I'm turning my foot a bit more on the court to get more power.
"It seems to be working," said the winner, who advanced with eight aces in a 73-minute win which also featured 22 winners and three breaks of serve against number 78 Ebden, a quarter-finalist last week in Atlanta.
"I guess I have a new weapon. In tennis you can always learn new stuff, but you have to be open to change. That's the only way you can get better. Hopefully I can keep serving like this."
Veteran Malisse improved his record at the Los Angeles event to 9-8, with one more win on Friday putting him into only his second semi-final since his debut 11 years ago in 2001.
The Belgian, who won his last ATP title five years ago, also moved past break-even for the season with an 18-17 match mark.
Aussie Marinko Matosevic, the sixth seed, defeated Germany's Tobias Kamke in a momentum-shifting 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 win.
Qualifier Richard Berankis of Lithuania reached the last eight with a defeat of Russian Igor Andreev 6-4, 7-5.