ATP Winston-Salem: Roger Federer's conqueror marches on. Paire, Johnson win


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ATP Winston-Salem: Roger Federer's conqueror marches on. Paire, Johnson win

The top seed Benoit Paire is through to the fifth ATP quarter-final of the season thanks to a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 win over the 15th seed and compatriot Ugo Humbert in two hours and 26 minutes. Ugo led 6-3, 4-2 and served for the victory at 6-5 in the second set, squandering his chances and allowing the more experienced player to perform a comeback and advance.

Serving at only 46%, Paire had to play against 12 break chances, suffering five breaks and adding six to his tally on the other side to cross the finish line first and stay on the title course. Trailing 3-2, Humbert claimed 16 of the last 19 points for a 6-3 and the momentum ahead of set number two where he opened that 4-2 lead with an early break, saving two break chances in game six to move closer to victory.

Paire broke back in game eight to extend his opportunities before suffering another break at 5-5, allowing Ugo to serve for the place in the quarters. It wasn't to be for the younger Frenchman, though, losing serve at 15 in the next game and the tie break 7-2, sending the momentum to the other side of the net and losing ground in the decider after getting broken thrice to propel Benoit into the last eight.

Dropping out from the top-90 for the first time in five and a half years, Steve Johnson won Aptos Challenger and he is now in the third ATP quarter-final in 2019, beating Casper Ruud 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 46 minutes. Johnson fired ten aces and saved two out of three break points to mount the pressure on Casper who stayed competitive only in the second set before losing it in the tie break to push Steve into the last eight.

The 14th seed John Millman took down Robin Haase 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 30 minutes, fending off five out of six break chances and delivering three breaks for straight-sets triumph. The Aussie grabbed two breaks in the opener and took four of the last five games from 2-3 in set number two to race towards the finish line for the best result since Acapulco in February.

The 21-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev defeated Roger Federer in Cincinnati last week and is through to the second consecutive quarter-final, prevailing against Sam Querrey 7-6, 7-6 in an hour and 51 minutes. Sam scored a commanding win over Andrey at Wimbledon and it was the other way around today, with two breaks for each player and with the youngster who delivered better tennis when it mattered the most to reach the last eight.

Interestingly, they traded breaks at 15 in the first couple of games, staying neck and neck in the rest of the set before Andrey claimed the breaker 7-4 when Sam sent a forehand long. Querrey broke at the beginning of the second set, keeping the advantage until the eighth game when Rublev broke at 15 to level the score at 4-4, setting up another tie break that went down to the wire after 22 interesting points.

Sam squandered three set points on the return at 6-5, 8-7 and 10-9, allowing Rublev to seal the deal with a winner at 11-10 to complete the quarter-final line-up.