Coric survives Sousa battle to continue title defence in Halle

AFP
Borna Coric is looking to defend his 2018 title at the ATP 500 tournament in Halle this week (AFP Photo/Friso Gentsch)

Borna Coric is looking to defend his 2018 title at the ATP 500 tournament in Halle this week

Borna Coric is looking to defend his 2018 title at the ATP 500 tournament in Halle this week (AFP Photo/Friso Gentsch)

Halle Westfalen (Germany) (AFP) - Reigning champion Borna Coric reached the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 tournament in Halle on Wednesday after battling his way to a 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 7-6 (7/4) win over Portugal's Joao Sousa.

The fourth-seeded Croatian got the better of Sousa in a three-hour slog to set up a quarter-final tie with France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Herbert fought back to beat Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 and reach the quarter-finals earlier on Wednesday.

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"This is my first time in Halle, so I am very happy," said Herbert.

Local hero Jan-Lennard Struff went down fighting against third seed Karen Khachanov in his first ever second-round appearance in Halle.

Russian Khachanov prevailed over a hard-fought three sets to beat Struff 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 and book his place in the last eight.

"I won't dwell on this defeat. I've never started the grass season this well," said Struff, who reached the semi-finals in Stuttgart last week.

Belgium's David Goffin came from behind to beat Moldovan Radu Albot 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and set up a potential quarter-final clash with home favourite Alexander Zverev.

World number five Zverev had his second round game against Steve Johnson pushed back to Thursday as he attempts to recover from a minor knee injury.

The German slipped and hurt himself during his first-round win over Robin Haase on Monday, and pulled out of the doubles draw a day later.

First seed Roger Federer is also in action on Thursday, as he takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round.

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