Sun, Feb 10, 2013 - Page 8 News List

France’s Gasquet advances to semis

AP, MONTPELLIER, France

Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen returns to Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine in their Open Sud de France quarter-final in Montpellier, France, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Third seed Richard Gasquet of France reached his second semi-final of the season after beating countryman Julien Benneteau 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 at the Open Sud de France on Friday.

Gasquet takes on Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, who advanced to the last four with a scrappy 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) win over Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, with both players dropping serve three times.

Sixth seed Benneteau needed lengthy treatment to his back early into the third set and was clearly impeded afterwards. He barely moved to try and reach Gasquet’s passing shot down the line on match point.

Michael Llodra and eighth seed Benoit Paire also won their quarter-finals and meet in the other semi to guarantee a French finalist.

Llodra hit 11 aces in a 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 win over Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic, sealing the victory with a volley at the net, while Paire beat fourth seed Gilles Simon 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) in another all-French match.

“It’s not easy to play a friend, we were both very tense on the court,” said Paire, who also reached his second semi-final this year after reaching the last four in Chennai, India. “I’m happy that I managed to stay focused on my match.”

Simon broke in the seventh game for 4-3, but Paire broke straight back and saved a break point in the next game, before taking control and opening up a 5-2 lead in the second set.

Serving for match, Paire double-faulted and Simon forced a tiebreak. Paire converted his second match point when he hit a two-handed backhand into Simon’s feet.

“Benoit’s aggressive on second serve,” Simon said. “He had a lot of opportunities on my second serve and hurt me with that.”

Stakhovsky broke Nieminen to lead 3-1 in the deciding set, but the Finn leveled immediately. Then Nieminen broke Stakhovsky in the 11th game, only to be broken back.

ZAGREB INDOORS

AP, ZAGREB

Top seed Marin Cilic of Croatia ousted Blaz Kavcic 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) on Friday to set up a Zagreb Indoors semi-final against defending champion Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

Cilic is a two-time winner in his home event, but he missed last year’s tournament with an injury. He broke Kavcic twice in the opening set to take an early lead and then traded breaks with the Slovenian in the second, before prevailing in the tiebreaker.

“It was really great until 5-0 in the first set, I felt great on court,” Cilic said. “He served better in the second set and it caused me problems ... but not so much as to force the third set.”

Kavcic said Cilic “did not make a single mistake during the first set.”

“If he keeps on playing like that, there is no doubt who will win the title,” Kavcic said.

Youzhny reached the semi-finals of the event for the third time by defeating Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-2 after never facing a break point in the match. The third seed broke for a 4-2 lead in the first set and then raced ahead 4-0 in the second.

“It was a good match for me, I played well and I like [the] atmosphere here,” Youzhny said. “I can’t say this is the best surface ... but when I am in Moscow at home I practice indoors a lot and I am used to the conditions like this.”

Earlier, fourth seed Jurgen Melzer of Austria earned the 300th ATP Tour win of his career to set up a semi-final against Robin Haase of the Netherlands.

Melzer defeated Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4, while Haase ousted Philipp Petzschner of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.

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