Kuala Lumpur – Second seed Stanislas Wawrinka is hoping the Malaysian Open will help him qualify for the year-end ATP World Tour Finals after clinching a quarterfinal place on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur.
He is at the eighth and final spot in the race to London with 2,925 points. There are still five places up for grabs as the world's top three players, Rafael Nadal (11,015), Novak Djokovic (8,110) and Andy Murray (5,805) are the only ones to have confirmed their places in the season-ender.
Should he win the title here, Wawrinka would earn 250 points and put clear daylight between the 28-year-old and the chasing pack as he seeks to qualify for the gala tournament for the first time in his career.
The Swiss world number 10 qualified for the quarter-finals on Thursday when he defeated Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 7-5 at Putra Stadium.
“It's every player's dream to play there, it's something big and amazing, but it's better for me to take care of what is happening right now,” he said.
“If I want to be there, I will need to play well and win matches, so as long as I don't think too much, I'm sure I have chance to be there.”
Wawrinka was too good for the 2006 Australian Open runner-up, hammering down six aces without his serve being threatened once.
Wawrinka will be up against sixth seed Dimitry Tursunov of Russia, who outclassed Spanish wildcard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2, 6-4 in the last second round fixture.
World number 26 Jurgen Melzer will seek help from his younger brother Gerald to try to reach the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open after setting up a date with Federico Delbonis.
The fourth-seeded Austrian qualified for the quarter-finals when he outlasted Germany's Mischa Zverev 7-5, 6-4 earlier Thursday.
His victory sets up a clash with Delbonis on Friday after the Argentinian reached the final eight by upsetting seventh-seeded Canadian Vasek Posposil 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/1) on Wednesday.
“I've never played Delbonis. He's a young kid. Maybe I will ask my younger brother (Gerald) as he's beat him once,” said the 32-year-old Melzer.
“Let's see if he has any advice for me. I need to find out as much as I can,” he said, adding that he would need to improve on his rhythm and momentum in the quarter-finals and beyond.
Melzer, who is also an accomplished doubles player, said he has been finding it tough to play both events, but will look to win both titles in Kuala Lumpur.
Joining Melzer are Joao Sousa of Portugal and fifth seed Julien Benneteau of France.
Sousa came back from a set down to defeat Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 7-5, 6-0, while fifth seed Benneteau outplayed Spain's Pablo Andujar 7-6 (10/8), 6-2.
Top seed David Ferrer qualified for the quarter-finals Wednesday when he defeated Matteo Viola 6-2, 6-3. – Sapa-AFP