Kuerten, Hewitt reach Hamburg quarters

French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten and top seed Lleyton Hewitt powered into the quarter-finals of the Hamburg Masters Series on Thursday with straight sets wins over minor seeds.

French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten and top seed Lleyton Hewitt powered into the quarter-finals of the Hamburg Masters Series on Thursday with straight sets wins over minor seeds.

Kuerten, only two weeks into his return to the fray since hip surgery, scored a 7-5, 6-2 win over Argentina's 15th seed Guillermo Canas while Hewitt was too strong for Czech 14th seed Jiri Novak, whom he dismissed 6-4, 6-3.

Swiss 11th seed Roger Federer also moved on with a 7-5, 6-4 success over Romanian Adrian Voinea and will now play Kuerten.

The second-seeded Brazilian is using the tournament primarily as an extensive workout for Roland Garros, which starts in ten days time.

"I think I can improve. When I get to my real level maybe I will be just as I was before. I think every match I go out there it's one more step for me," said Kuerten.

Hewitt, dubbed 'Racket Rambo' by the German press and chasing his 15th career title, broke in the seventh game against Novak but had to stave off five break points against him serving for the set before rounding things off with an ace.

In the second set the 21-year-old world number one's short fuse came to the fore as he argued vociferously over a disputed Novak drive which appeared to have landed millimetres out but which was given good by umpire Norm Chryst.

Novak took his unconverted break point count to ten in the eighth game as Hewitt, a semi-finalist here last year, regained his composure, moving to 5-3 against a rival he had beaten in both of their previous two meetings before sealing victory on the Novak serve after 1hr 40min.

The battling Adelaider has bounced back from a bout of chicken pox to lift titles at San Jose and Indian Wells this season but came here seeking a morale boost win following early defeats at Monte Carlo and again in the Rome Masters last week.

Hewitt will next face either Russian sixth seed Marat Safin or Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela.
Bureau Report

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