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Gasquet, Monfils Reach Montpellier QFs; Simon Upset

Montpellier, France

Gicquel© OSDF/JBAMarc Gicquel upset second seed Gilles Simon to reach the quarter-finals.

Top seed Richard Gasquet began his Open Sud de France title defence on Thursday in Montpellier with a 6-1, 6-3 win over fellow Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in 94 minutes.

Gasquet, who improves to 5-2 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Mathieu, is bidding for his 11th ATP World Tour title and second in Montpellier. Gasquet ended 2013 with a personal-best 50 match wins and finished as the highest-ranked Frenchman for the first time since 2007. The World No. 9 goes on to face qualifier Albano Olivetti in the quarter-finals.

Olivetti, from France, equalled his best ATP World Tour result by reaching the quarter-finals with a 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5 win over former World No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko in two hours and 32 minutes. He also reached the last eight as a qualifier in Marseille two years ago.

Fifth seed Gael Monfils was untroubled on his route through to the final eight, dismissing Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-2. The Frenchman is bidding to win the Montpellier title for the second time, following victory in 2010 (d. Ljubicic). He has a 14-3 event record, also reaching the final in 2005 (l. to Roddick) and 2012 (l. to Berdych).

The 27-year-old Monfils has made a strong start to the 2014 season, reaching the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final in Doha and the third round at the Australian Open, losing both times to Rafael Nadal. He will look to continue his good form against Denis Istomin. The Uzbekistani upset fourth seed Dmitry Tursunov 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes to reach his second quarter-final of the season.

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Tursunov wasn’t the only seed to fall. In an all-French clash, qualifier Marc Gicquel ousted second seed and three-time semi-finalist Gilles Simon 7-6(4), 6-3 in 89 minutes. World No. 127 Gicquel recorded back-to-back tour-level wins for the first time since January 2010, when he reached the quarter-finals at the Heineken Open in Auckland (l. to Kohlschreiber).

Gicquel goes on to face sixth seed Jarkko Nieminen, who withstood 23 aces to defeat Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6(5), 7-6(5) in one hour and 37 minutes. The 32-year-old Nieminen has reached at least the quarter-finals in four of his visits to Montpellier, advancing to the semi-finals last year (l. to Gasquet).

Third-seeded Pole Jerzy Janowicz made his way safely into the quarter-finals with a 7-6(2), 6-3 win over Adrian Mannarino. He next meets another Frenchman, No. 7 seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who defeated German Dustin Brown 6-3, 6-4.

Seeded Duos Bow Out
The three seeded doubles teams in action Thursday all bowed out in their quarter-final matches. Top seeds Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich lost to Henri Kontinen and Jarkko Nieminen 7-6(5), 6-3. The Finns next play Frenchmen Marc Gicquel and Nicolas Mahut, who closed out a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over No. 3 seeds Paul Hanley and Jamie Murray.

Davydendo and Istomin returned to the courts for doubles action and knocked out fourth-seeded Britons Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski 6-4, 6-4.

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Open Sud de France, Montpellier

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