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Calleri Reaches Sixth ATP Quarterfinal of 2008

Casablanca, Morocco

Agustin Calleri is looking to reach his first ATP semi-final since Kitzbuhel in July 2007.© Getty ImagesAgustin Calleri is looking to reach his first ATP semi-final since Kitzbuhel in July 2007.

Third-seeded Argentine Agustin Calleri became the first player into the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix Hassan II Tuesday, after he beat unseeded Frenchman Olivier Patience 6-2, 7-5 in 78 minutes. The World No. 57, who hit 12 aces and won 28 of 32 points on first serve, also beat Patience at 2005 Acapulco.

The 31-year-old Calleri improved to 15-12 on the season and now will look to reach his first ATP semifinal since Kitzbuhel in July 2007 (l. to Starace). He has already reached the last eight in Sydney (l. to Stepanek), Doha (l. to Wawrinka), Buenos Aires (l. to Volandri), Houston (l. to Blake) and Acapulco (l. to Horna) this year.

Calleri will next play Moroccan wild card Younes El Aynaoui, who first competed at his hometown event in 1990. The 2002 champion and 1993 and 2003 runner-up snapped a three-match losing streak against Dominik Hrbaty of the Slovak Republic, with a 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 39 minutes. The 36-year-old El Aynaoui reached the Munich semifinals earlier this month (l. to Gonzalez) and has a 6-2 season record.

French qualifier Gilles Simon knocked out Serbian Boris Pashanski 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes. The World No. 36 also beat Pashanski in three sets at Sopot in July 2007. He improved to 15-12 on the season, highlighted by a semifinal exit in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling). Simon was the last qualifier to reach the Casablanca quarterfinals in 2005 (l. to eventual finalist Monaco).

In the quarterfinals, Simon will face fourth-seeded Frenchman Marc Gicquel, who battled past former French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(2) after 1hr., 47min in their first meeting.

It is just the third time this season that the 31-year-old Gicquel has won back-to-back matches in an ATP main draw; he reached the third round at the Australian Open and a quarterfinalist in Estoril, falling to No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko on both occasions. World No. 59 Gicquel is competing in Casablanca for the fourth time, his best result being a semifinal finish last season (l. to Mathieu).

Former World No. 3 Coria (current No. 733) reached the final of Roland Garros in 2004 (l. to Gaudio), a year that also saw him win at ATP Masters Series Monte-Carlo and Buenos Aires. The Argentine, who struggled with a shoulder injury last year, was playing just his fourth ATP event of the season and slips to 2-4.

Spaniard Oscar Hernandez completed his rain-interrupted first round match against Frank Dancevic of Canada. Resuming at one set apiece, Hernandez won 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(5) in two hours and 53 minutes to setp up a clash against No. 2 seed Gael Monfils of France.

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©Lionel Maltese


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