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Paire Makes Winning Return

Casablanca, Morocco

Paire© El KhaouaBenoit Paire is playing in his first tournament since January.

Third seed Benoit Paire reached the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix Hassan II for a third straight year, with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Spaniard Albert Montanes on Thursday.

Playing in his first match since the Australian Open, the Frenchman struck 13 aces and converted on three of his seven break points against the 2007 Casablanca finalist. Paire had been sidelined for two months with a knee injury.

He will look to reach the Casablanca semi-finals for the first time when he next meets Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Paire holds a 2-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against the Spaniard, including a victory this past January in Chennai.

“I'm very happy to be back on the court,” said Paire. “The quarter-final against Garcia-Lopez will be a tough match since he's a great clay-court player. I've played him a few times and the matches were always very close.”

Garcia-Lopez, the No. 8 seed and a Casablanca quarter-finalist in three of the past four years, defeated Argentine Carlos Berlocq  6-2, 7-5.

Three other Spaniards also advanced Thursday. Fourth seed Marcel Granollers defeated countryman Albert Ramos 6-3, 7-6(3) in his opener and will next face Pablo Carreno Busta, the Most Improved Player of 2013.

Carreno Busta edged Kazakhstani Aleksandr Nedovyesov 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3) to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

Meanwhile, Roberto Carballes Baena advanced to the quarter-finals in his second ATP World Tour event. The 21 year old prevailed against fifth seed Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-7(7), 7-6(5), 6-2 in three hours and 13 minutes after saving one match point.

Carballes Baena will next play Russian lucky loser Andrey Kuznetsov, who led Jiri Vesely 6-2, 3-1 when the 20-year-old Czech retired due to illness.

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Doubles Seeds Fall
The third-seeded British duo of Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray lost in their quarter-final match against Tomasz Bednarek and Lukas Dlouhy 2-6, 6-4, 10-8, while fourth seeds Oliver Marach and Florin Mergea fell to Daniele Bracciali and Federico Delbonis 7-6(3), 3-6, 10-6.

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Grand Prix Hassan II, Casablanca

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