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Isner Fires Past Sock In Nice

Nice, France

Sock, Isner© Yohan Brandt/Open de Nice Côte d'AzurJack Sock (top) and John Isner battle at close quarters on Wednesday.

World No. 11 John Isner beat fellow American Jack Sock 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday for a place in the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur quarter-finals. He will face seventh seed Federico Delbonis, who defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 6-4.

Isner lost six service points and hit six aces in the 45-minute first set against the 21-year-old qualifier, who saved four of five break points. Isner broke Sock for a 3-1 lead in the second set.

“I didn’t know how I would play coming into the match, as I have tried not to train too much,” said top seed Isner. “It was very hard playing Jack, as we are very good friends.”

Three of Isner’s eight ATP World Tour titles have come as the top seed, including 2011-12 Newport and 2013 Atlanta.

Later in the day, at the Nice Lawn Tennis Club, second seed Ernests Gulbis advanced to his eighth quarter-final of the season when he beat Martin Klizan, the recent BMW Open by FWU AG champion, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1. The Latvian next plays fifth seed Dmitry Tursunov, who dismissed Robin Haase 6-3, 6-4.

"[Tursunov] is a good friend. I have played with him in doubles many times," said Gulbis. "I know him, he knows me. It will be a fun match.”

Portugal Open champion Carlos Berlocq dismissed sixth seed Nicolas Mahut 6-2, 6-3. He will play fourth seed Gilles Simon, who needed two hours and two minutes to triumph over Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. The Frenchman won 78 per cent of first serve points and broke his opponent five times during the encounter.

In two first-time FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, Albert Montanes outlasted Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals, while Argentine qualifier Leonardo Mayer fired off 10 aces in an upset of eighth seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

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Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi are one victory away from reaching the Nice doubles final for the second time. The top seeds knocked out Daniele Bracciali and Oliver Marach 5-7, 7-6(5), 10-5 for a place in the semi-finals. The 'Indo-Pak Express' saved one match point at 4-5, on deciding-point deuce, in the second set. The match lasted one hour and 51 minutes.

The 2010 finalists next face Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who needed a Match Tie-break to secure their 6-4, 5-7, 10-5 win over Mate Pavic and Andre Sa. Brothers Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski also reached the final four, beating Argentina's Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 7-6(2).

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