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Raonic, Simon, Gasquet Reach Bangkok QFs

Bangkok, Thailand

Simon© AFP/Getty ImagesFormer champion Gilles Simon reached the quarter-finals.

Third seed Milos Raonic fired 14 aces as he defeated fellow big-server Ivo Karlovic 7-6(3), 6-4 on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the Thailand Open in Bangkok. Neither player engineered a break point in the first set, which Raonic won on a tie-break, and the Canadian broke to love at the start of the second set before claiming victory in 90 minutes.

The 21-year-old Raonic is making his debut in Bangkok and goes onto face Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen for a place in the semi-finals. The World No. 15 has a 39-15 match record on the season, highlighted by winning ATP World Tour titles in San Jose (d. Istomin) and Chennai (d. Tipsarevic), and still has an outside chance of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

"I was a little hesitant in the first set, just trying to figure out what I was going to do," said Raonic. "It’s going to be very different from today [against Nieminen], but if I take the focus and intensity from today, I think I will have my opportunities and I think I will be able to create a lot of opportunities."

Eighth seed Bernard Tomic reached his fourth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season as he came from a set down to defeat Israel’s Dudi Sela 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. The Australian saved 11 of the 13 break points he faced for victory in two hours and 22 minutes.

"He played pretty good," said Tomic. "I didn’t play aggressive enough, but it’s difficult to play aggressive against a player like that. He plays very, very different tennis, like me, slicing a lot, so it’s not comfortable to play against."

The 19-year-old Tomic recorded his 26th match win of the season. After a semi-final effort in Brisbane (l. to Murray) at the start of the year, he went onto reach the quarter-finals in Delray Beach (l. to Isner) and Munich (l. to Lopez).

A pair of seeded Frenchmen, No. 2 Richard Gasquet and No. 4 Gilles Simon, also advanced to the last eight. Gasquet rallied from down a set and a break and withstood 21 aces on his Bangkok debut to overcome Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 15 minutes.

Simon dismissed Japan’s Go Soeda 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 48 minutes, breaking serve four times from 12 opportunities as he claimed his 36th win of the year. The 27-year-old Simon triumphed at this ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tournament three years ago (d. Troicki).

In an all-French quarter-final clash, Simon will face Gael Monfils, who upset sixth-seeded Serb Viktor Troicki 7-5, 7-5. Former World No. 7 Monfils, who dropped to No. 45 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings after nearly four months out with a knee injury before returning last week in Metz, improved to a 19-8 match record on the season and will look to overturn a 1-2 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Simon.

Fernando Verdasco, the fifth seed from Spain, defeated last year’s runner-up Donald Young 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 39 minutes. The left-hander won 69 per cent of points on his serve and broke Young once in each set. The 28 year old was a semi-finalist in Bangkok on his debut in 2007 (l. to Tursunov).

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