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Gulbis, Three Frenchmen Reach Marseille QFs

Marseille, France

Gulbis© Yohan Brandt - Open 13Ernests Gulbis battled into the quarter-finals.

Third seed Ernests Gulbis advanced to his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the year on Thursday at the Open 13 in Marseille as he battled past Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. The Latvian dropped serve in the 12th game of the second set, but recovered to claim victory in two hours and 15 minutes.

The 25-year-old Gulbis is coming off a semi-final showing in Rotterdam (l. to Berdych) and improved to a 7-3 match record on the season. In the past 12 months, Gulbis has seen his Emirates ATP Ranking rise from No. 109 to No. 23 and is looking to crack the Top 20 for the first time.

Fifth seed Ivan Dodig reached his second quarter-final of the year when he defeated Tobias Kamke, for the fourth time in a row, 6-7(4), 6-0, 6-3. Dodig, who fell in the PBZ Zagreb Indoors last eight (l. to Cilic) two weeks ago, will now play top seed Richard Gasquet.

Three Frenchmen also recorded wins at the ATP World Tour 250 indoor tennis tournament. 

Michael Llodra upset fourth seed Andreas Seppi 7-6(3), 6-4. The 33-year-old Llodra is a three-time finalist in Marseille, lifting the trophy in 2010 (d. Benneteau). 

Sixth seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin edged past Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6(2), 6-4 in one hour and 36 minutes for a clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Eighth seed Nicolas Mahut hit 12 aces and lost just four of his first service points in a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory over qualifier Ricardas Berankis in 89 minutes. He goes on to face Gulbis.

"Today I played much better than yesterday," said Mahut, who is on the verge of a return to the Top 40 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since 2008. "I’m happy that I managed to win in two sets and I’m also satisfied with my game. 

"One year ago my goal was to be back in the Top 100. At the beginning of 2013, after the Australian Open, I was not sure if my career could continue and if my knee was going to be OK. Today, I have a great team around me with my physio and my two coaches, Thierry Ascione and Nicolas Escude."

Jan-Lennard Struff denied a fourth Frenchman from reaching the quarter-finals, defeating seventh seed Julien Benneteau 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 in just under two hours.

French Duo Reaches Semis
French second seeds Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Henri Kontinen and Mateusz Kowalczyk. Both Benneteau and Roger-Vasselin are former champions in Marseille. Benneteau lifted the trophy in 2010 with Michael Llodra, while Roger-Vasselin triumphed in 2012 with Nicolas Mahut.

Paul Hanley and Jonathan Marray completed the semi-final line-up, defeating James Cerretani and Adil Shamasdin 6-4, 7-6(3).

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