Moya, Safin advance at Cincinnati

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Fourth-seeded Carlos Moya overcame Wayne Arthurs to reach the A.T.P. Tour's Cincinnati Masters quarter-finals.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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In an incredible third round match, fourth-seeded Carlos Moya overcame 20 aces from Wayne Arthurs of Australia to win 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) and reach the A.T.P. Tour's Cincinnati Masters quarter-finals on Thursday. Moya, the first Spaniard to win the event in 2002, needed five match points to finally end the brave challenge of Arthurs and he now awaits the winner of a late match between Andre Agassi and Juan Ignacio Chela. Elsewhere in the early session, the resurgent 14th seed, Marat Safin, finally saw off Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 while Fabrice Santoro of France advanced by easily beating another veteran, Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden, 6-0, 6-3. After the torrential rain on Wednesday, bright skies and sunshine greeted for the racquet aficionados who came flocking back on the fourth day of the A.T.P. Tour's Cincinnati Masters event on Thursday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. First to arrive on centre court were two unseeded veterans of the game. Fabrice Santoro of France faced Swede Jonas Bjorkman and this exquisite backhand, cross-court pass from Santoro completed a comfortable 6-0, 6-3 victory to seal a place in round four. Raining aces The unseeded Wayne Arthurs knew he faced a very difficult match against fourth-seeded Carlos Moya, the first Spaniard to win the event in 2002, but even the Aussie could not have envisaged firing 20 aces and still losing. A fierce forehand down the line from Arthurs allowed him to break Moya's serve in the first game of the third and deciding set to 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 1-0. However, the agility of Moya comes to the fore as he volleyed a fine winner after great rally to give him advantage before holding his serve to reduce the deficit to 2-3 in the final set. The match then went with rank as Moya completed a hard-fought 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) victory - he needed five match points and will now face either Andre Agassi and Juan Ignacio Chela. Marat Safin, the 14th seed, also found the going tough as a fine serve-and-volley allowed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia to level the match at 6-7 (4-7) 7-6, (7-3) on the set point against the Russian. However, like the previous encounter, class told as a searing Safin backhand, cross-court volleyed winner gave him a 30-0 lead when serving for the match at 5-4 in the final set. A fierce Safin ace completed a hard-fought 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 victory and he was honest enough afterwards to admit that luck had played a major part. "Actually, it was bad call on the second serve. Actually, it was in and they called it out. So, that was how I made the break but, basically, you know, the match was three tie-breaks but I was lucky a little bit. It's not just a matter of luck but it was the difference on one or two points - and that was it," said Marat Safin, winner in third round. (AP)

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