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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Clay King Courts Hard Title In Florida

KEY BISCAYNE, Florida -- King of clay Thomas Muster jokes that when he visits Florida, his favorite surface is sand.


The Lipton Championships are played on hard courts, but Muster turned the fourth round into a day at the beach Tuesday, beating Alex Corretja 6-4, 6-4.


Winning Lipton would represent a breakthrough for the 29-year-old Muster. All but three of his 43 career titles have come on clay, saddling him with a reputation as a one-surface specialist.


"I don't care," the second-ranked Austrian said. "I think I've played well enough that people realize I can play on hard courts. I don't think I have to prove anything to anybody at all."


Last year, Muster came into Lipton ranked No. 1, then lost his opening match to Nicolas Pereira. Until this year, he had advanced beyond the third round at Key Biscayne only once -- in 1989, when he beat Yannick Noah in the semifinals, then missed the final because of an accident with a drunken driver that nearly ended his career.


"I've never really had much luck at this tournament," he said dryly. "I went to the final, and that was an unlucky experience there."


Muster's opponent in the quarterfinals will be Swede Jonas Bjorkman, who advanced by beating Australian Mark Philippoussis 6-3, 6-4.


Top-ranked Pete Sampras, who could meet Muster in Sunday's final, blitzed Magnus Larsson of Sweden 6-2, 6-0.


"I really played unbelievable tennis for the most part," Sampras said. "I served well, got off to a good start and he got a little down on himself. It was a smooth day."


Sampras' quarterfinal opponent will be Hendrik Dreekmann of Germany.


Jim Courier, seeking his biggest tournament title since 1993, beat Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek 7-6 (8-6), 6-4. Courier will next face No. 4 Goran Ivanisevic, who beat 19-year-old Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 6-4, 6-4.


Spaniard Sergi Bruguera and Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine also advanced and will meet in the quarterfinals.


In women's play, Monica Seles won her fourth match in five days, rallying past Irina Spirlea of Romania 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Her opponent in the semifinals Thursday will be Austrian Barbara Paulus, who beat Sandrine Testud of France 6-3, 6-3.


Seles, coming back from a broken finger, is playing her first hardcourt tournament since the U.S. Open seven months ago. "The way I played today, I need a little more consistency," she said.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)