at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Los Angeles – Two-time champ Sam Querrey returned to the Los Angeles Open two years after claiming his last title and picked up where he left off, winning his opening match over Igor Sijsling 6-2, 6-2.
The southern Californian lifted hardcourt titles at the UCLA campus facility in 2009 and 2010 but missed his trophy defence a year ago due to surgery for a shoulder injury.
The world number 57, whose best showing this season was a Queen's club semi-final, adapted quickly to familiar surroundings Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals.
“I feel great, I wasn't here a year ago but everything is 100 percent now. I've been feeling great on the practise court and I'm playing well.
“I feel like I'm getting back to where I was a year and a half ago. This was a great start to the week for me.
“I have my confidence back and I'm having a great time. I'm looking forward to a good summer on the hardcourts.”
The rapid-fire victory took just 50 minutes and was his 11th overall at the tournament against just two losses. Querrey, 24, has been ranked as high as 18th on the ATP Tour in 2010. That year he won four titles and looked destined for a career in the top 20.
Querrey broke his opponent five times and blasted seven aces. He jumped all over Sijsling in a first set lasting less than half an hour and added two more breaks in the second set to complete his rout.
The American will next play the winner from fifth seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium and Australian Matthew Ebden.
Third seed Leonardo Mayer will line up in the quarter-finals against American Rajeev Ram after both scored quick victories.
Mayer spent minimal time and effort in advancing in his first match after a bye at the ATP Tour hardcourt tournament as he advanced 6-0, 4-0 when Italian opponent Flavio Cipolla quit with a neck injury.
Ram, who knocked out eighth seed Brian Baker in the first round, took a comprehensive win against Chile's Paul Capdeville 6-3, 6-1 in 64 minutes, firing ten aces and breaking four times.
Down 3-2 in the opening set, the 117th-ranked Ram won seven straight games to take control against an opponent ranked 139th whom he had only previously played at the Challenger level.
“I just tried to get as many balls back as I could,” said Ram, who will be playing his second quarter-final in three weeks after a solid week on grass this month in Newport.
“I also served well. It's important to win consecutive matches, that's what the top guys do.
Prior to this season, Ram last played a quarter-final in 2009.
“I've struggled in the past putting back-to-back wins together. This was an important step for me. I'm trying to compete hard and not commit too many errors. I don't want to beat myself out there.”
Mayer, ranked 64th, beat Ram in their only previous meeting in Sydney two years ago.
“He also had a decisive win today. It will be a tough battle, I'll have to bring my best,” Mayer said. – Sapa-AFP