French pair sail into Thailand semis

28 September 2012 06:48

Inspired second seed Richard Gasquet and 2009 Thailand Open winner Gilles Simon posted wins on Friday to put a pair of Frenchmen into the semi-finals of the tournament.

Gasquet, playing the indoor event for the first time, took confidence gained from a comeback win in the previous round as he put out Australian eighth seed Bernard Tomic 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

He moves into a contest with 2010 finalist Jarkko Nieminen, who defeated Canadian third seed Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

Gasquet refused to panic as he was put to the test by Tomic, the only teenager in the ATP top 50, who turns 20 next month.

"Yesterday I was lucky to win," Gasquet said of his previous victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimotrov. "Today I played better.

"It was tight in the first set, but I did it. I felt more confident and that's what made the difference."

Simon, seeded fourth, moved into the last four as he beat compatriot Gael Monfils, who was feeling the strain after missing four months due to injury.

The Frenchman was watched in the quarter-final by his former coach of almost six years Thierry Tulsane, who he split with amicably earlier in the week.

He decided to go it alone in the hope that he can jolt himself into improving his longstanding ranking, which has stalled inside the ATP top 20.

After complaining that a shoulder problem had been bothering his serve, Simon said playing the flamboyant Monfils was always a challenge -- despite breaking his serve five times in the 84-minute match.

"I tried to just focus on my game," he said, after his seventh quarter-final of the season.

"I have my own problems so I wasn't paying that much attention to him. I just tried to do my best on court, as always. I've known Gael for such a long time. He tries everything to win, but I was strong enough to beat him. It was tough, but I played him the right way."

Monfils admitted that he was far from his best after taking four months out with a knee injury.

"I was tired and it was a tough match. I was also a bit worried about my knee. Hopefully it is fine," he said.

"It's always difficult to play Gilles, we know each other's game so well. It was not great for me today. I tried to play a different game against him, trick him a bit. But in the end it didn't work."

On Saturday Simon faces top seed Janko Tipsarevic, after the ATP number 9 beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

Tipsarevic won five straight points in the opening-set tiebreaker from 2-5 down to take the set before pushing to victory.

"Today it was another battle from the baseline, he made me suffer and ran me around the court," said Serb Tipsarevic, bidding for a place in the eight-man year-end final in London from November 5.

"It was really tough match. Every time I play Fernando, he makes me work. We never have easy matches. He likes to hit his forehand big."

Source: AFP