© Open 13/Corinne Dubreuil

Karen Khachanov has grown in confidence throughout the Marseille week to reach his first ATP World Tour semi-final for eight months (2017 Halle).

Khachanov Through To Semis in Marseille

Pouille, Berdych also advance at Open 13 Provence

Karen Khachanov advanced to his first ATP World Tour semi-final in eight months by defeating France’s Julien Benneteau, the 2010 runner-up, 6-4, 6-4 in 84 minutes at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille on Friday. "It was quite a solid match,” said Khachanov. “I didn’t make many first serves in the first couple of games, getting broken in my first service game, but then I got stronger."

The 21-year-old Russian, who struck 16 aces past Benneteau (for 35 aces overall in three matches this week), reached the Gerry Weber Open semi-finals (l. to Federer) in June 2017. The last Russian to contest the Marseille final was Yevgeny Kafelnikov, a former No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, who beat Sebastian Grosjean of France for the 2001 title.

Khachanov will next face fourth-seeded Czech and 2013 finalist Tomas Berdych, who led seventh seed Damir Dzumhur 7-6(4) when the Bosnia & Herzegovina player retired due to illness after 56 minutes of play.

Berdych has a 13-18 record in ATP World Tour finals, with his last championship match coming in May 2017 at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon (l. to Tsonga). In their only FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, Khachanov beat Berdych 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in the Roland Garros second round last year.

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Lucas Pouille celebrated his 24th birthday the best way possible with a 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4 win over Filip Krajinovic. The Frenchman's serve was firing throughout the three-set match, as he hit 20 aces and saved three of four break points. After the match, Pouille was presented with a birthday cake.

"I don't remember winning a match on my birthday," Pouille said. "It's maybe the first time and it's very nice to celebrate on court with the crowd. We both served very well. In the end I was just trying to put the ball into the court. It was a very tough match against a great player."

Pouille, runner-up at last year's event (l. to Tsonga), will play qualifier Ilya Ivashka for a spot in the final. The Belarusian blasted 13 aces to rally past Nicolas Mahut 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 and book a place in his first ATP World Tour semi-final. Ivashka is the first Belarusian to advance to a tour-level semi-final since Max Mirnyi at 2005 Rotterdam. It is the 23-year-old’s third tour-level event.

Daniell/Inglot Reach Doubles Final
Fourth seeds Marcus Daniell and Dominic Inglot advanced to their first ATP World Tour doubles final with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over second seeds Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in 52 minutes on Friday. Last year, Inglot partnered Robin Haase to a runner-up finish to Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut. Inglot, 31, has a 7-9 record in finals, while 28-year-old Daniell is 3-4 lifetime in title matches. The duo will next challenge top seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus or defending champions Benneteau and Mahut, who will contest their semi-final on Saturday.

Did You Know
Pouille is pursuing his second title in February after lifting the Open Sud de France in Montpellier two weeks ago.