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Monfils Focuses On Paris After Granollers Loss; del Potro Reaches SFs

Valencia, Spain

Monfils© Valencia Open 500Gael Monfils lost to Marcel Granollers in two hours and 27 minutes.

Gael Monfils will travel to his birthplace, Paris, knowing he must win the BNP Paribas Masters, where he is a two-time runner-up, to have a chance of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London from 20-27 November.

The third-seeded Frenchman suffered a 7-6(12), 3-6, 6-4 loss at the hands of Spaniard Marcel Granollers, last year's finalist, on Friday, in the Valencia Open 500 quarter-finals, leaving Monfils with a tricky task at next week's ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

Granollers led Monfils 4-1 in the first set, before losing four straight games. He saved three set points in the tie-break, before closing out the 65-minute opener on his fifth set point opportunity. World No. 10 Monfils responded by breaking serve to 15 in the sixth game of the second set.

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In the decider, Granollers gained an early break and served for the match at 5-3, only to be broken by Monfils to 15. Granollers bounced back immediately, with his fourth service break of the match, to clinch his 25th match win of the season. It snapped a nine-match losing streak against Top 10 opponents.

Granollers will next challenge another player who is bidding to secure a berth at the prestigious season finale, sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro, who moved up to No. 10 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings, overtaking Serbian Janko Tipsarevic, by virtue of beating World No. 116 Sam Querrey 6-2, 7-5 in 78 minutes.

In his comeback season from a wrist injury, del Potro has compiled a 48-15 match record (33-12 on hard) and has lifted two ATP World Tour titles at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (d. Tipsarevic) in February and the Estoril Open (d. Verdasco) in early May.

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Top seed David Ferrer extended his Valencia winning streak to 14 matches when he overcame 30-year-old Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 in 82 minutes. The 2008 and 2010 titlist hit four aces and won 73 per cent of his service points. Ferrer, who qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals last month, is now one victory away from reaching his eighth tour-level final of the year (2-4 record).

Next up for Ferrer is Argentine wild card Juan Monaco, who broke serve three times to defeat Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 36 minutes. The No. 41-ranked Monaco, who had upset fourth seed Nicolas Almagro in the first round, is through to his first ATP World Tour semi-final of the season and improved to a 27-24 match record.

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