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Gasquet To Face Janowicz In Montpellier SFs; Monfils, Nieminen Advance

Montpellier, France

Gasquet© AFP/Getty ImagesRichard Gasquet plays Jerzy Janowicz in the Montpellier semi-finals.

Top seed and defending champion Richard Gasquet will play third seed Jerzy Janowicz in the semi-finals of the Open Sud de France. It will be their third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting (1-1).

Gasquet, who beat Benoit Paire in last year’s final, withstood 13 aces from fellow Frenchman Albano Olivetti to beat the qualifier 6-4, 6-2 in 70 minutes. Qualifier Olivetti finishes the tournament having served 111 aces in six matches (including qualifying).

“I’m happy with the victory,” said Gasquet. “Matches like the one tonight, in front of a very good server, are always very uncomfortable. I had already trained with Albano, so I knew what he was capable of. You need to wait for your opportunity and make no mistakes when there is a chance.”

Janowicz lost just 14 of his service points and hit 18 aces past seventh seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a 6-2, 6-4 win over 70 minutes. Last year, the 23 year old reached the quarter-finals (or better) at five tournaments, including a Wimbledon semi-final run.

“It was a tough match. I know Edouard very well from the tour and I knew that I had to be very good on my serve and aggressive on my returns to have a chance. That was the plan and today it worked.

"Gasquet will be a very difficult opponent," said Janowicz. "I know he is playing very, very well.”

Gasquet admitted, “Tomorrow I meet another great server, one of the best in the world. He plays at a very good level. It is going to be very difficult. I can beat him, but indoors it will be more complicated. I need to do my best to get the win."

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Fifth seed Gael Monfils delighted French supporters on Friday when the 2010 titlist reached the semi-finals. Monfils, who beat Ivan Ljubicic in the final four years ago, hit seven aces past Denis Istomin for a 6-4, 6-4 win in the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting since the 2009 Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur.

“I felt very good on the court today,” said Monfils. “Sometimes even too good, which can be dangerous and that’s what happened at the end of the second set. I felt the ball really well and was having a lot of fun today. As the days go, I am feeling better and better and raising my game.”

Monfils will next look to extend his 3-0 record against Jarkko Nieminen, who advanced to the Montpellier semi-finals for the second straight year. In their last clash, Monfils beat Nieminen in the 2012 quarter-finals.

Nieminen recorded his 10th win at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament against qualifier Marc Gicquel, improving his perfect record to 4-0 against the Frenchman, in a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) victory. Gicquel, the oldest player in the singles draw at 36, beat second seed Gilles Simon in the second round.

“Nieminen is very good player, who can be aggressive," said Monfils. "I know that I need to exploit his second serve, as much as possible, which is his main weakness. Each time we face each other, it is a very intense match with very long rallies.”

Gicquel/Mahut Advance To Doubles Final
In doubles action, the French duo of Marc Gicquel and Nicolas Mahut moved into their first final together as a team with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Finnish tandem of Henri Kontinen and Jarkko Nieminen. It will be Gicquel's seventh doubles final on the ATP World Tour and Mahut's 14th.

They will face the winner of Saturday's semi-final between second seeds Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Rameez Junaid and the Russian-Uzbek duo of Nikolay Davydenko and Denis Istomin.


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