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Tsonga Eyes Third Final Of Year; Ljubicic Into SFs

Metz, France

Ljubicic© Moselle OpenIvan Ljubicic, the World No. 29, reached the semi-finals on Friday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, currently No. 7 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings and a contender to qualifier for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, was required to work over-time on Friday.

Top seed Tsonga hit 20 aces to knock out his fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in just over two hours at the Moselle Open in Metz. He will next look to reach his third ATP World Tour final of the season, after runner-up finishes at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) and the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club (l. to Murray).

"Nicolas is a fantastic player and I knew I was going to have a tough match," said Tsonga. "I think today I maybe missed the start and it took time for me to get into the match. I wasn't easy and it clearly could have gone both ways. I am happy I won, what counts in the end is the outcome of the match."

Third-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov will meet Tsonga on Saturday. Dolgopolov was leading sixth seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium 6-3, 1-0, when Malisse retired with a neck injury.

Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final in seven months with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling. Fourth seed Ljubicic, who won the ATP World Tour 250 tournament in 2005, hit 13 aces and 73 per cent of his service point for his 20th match win of the season.

Ljubicic will meet No. 8 seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg for the first time in almost six years on Saturday in the last four. World No. 49 Muller swept past second seed and 2004 runner-up Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4 in just 72 minutes, firing down 11 aces and saving all six break points he faced.

"I probably played today the best match of the week," said Muller. "I had an unbelievable first set. Things got a bit complicated in the second, I may have lost my concentration a bit but I was happy to be able to finish in two sets."

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