Article

Frenchmen dominate in Montpellier

8 February 2013 23:22

Locals Richard Gasquet, Benoit Paire and Michael Llodra all qualified for the last four at the Open Sud de France on Friday.

The trio all won quarter-finals at the ATP 250 event in Montpellier, with Gasquet continuing his impressive run at the event with a 6-1 4-6 6-1 win over compatriot Julien Benneteau.

The third seed entered the match fresh off a three-set win against another Frenchman Gael Monfils, and he hit 12 aces in a terrific serving performance.

Gasquet won 83 percent of points on his first serve, and although he faced 12 break points, he saved nine of them in a win that took him just over 100 minutes.

The world number 10, who won the Open Sud de France when it was held in Lyon in 2006, was pleased to win despite saying he was not at his best.

"I am very happy to be at this stage of the competition especially after defeating two tough players like Gael and Julien," said Gasquet, who has already won an ATP title this year, at last month's Qatar ExxonMobil Open.

"I didn't play my best tennis today. Perhaps I was a bit too passive but I got the job done."

Gasquet will now play Jarkko Nieminen in the semi-finals after the Finn came from behind to defeat Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

Both players made three breaks in the match with Nieminen's class prevailing in a tight final set.

The other semi-final will be an all-French affair as both Paire and Llodra recorded victories.

Paire's win was an upset, as he downed fourth seed Gilles Simon in straight sets, 7-5 7-6 (7-4).

Paire hit eight aces as he won his way through to his second semi-final of the season.

Llodra also won in straight sets, toppling Czech Jan Hajek 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after producing a superb performance that saw him serve 11 aces.

The victory continued Llodra's good run at the tournament, with a victory over ninth seed Janko Tipsarevic on Thursday particularly impressive.

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