Simon storms to 300 club
Bangkok - Frenchman Gilles Simon celebrated winning the 300th match of his career Thursday after dominating Australian Bernard Tomic 6-4, 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals of the Thailand Open.
He was joined in the last eight by second-seeded compatriot Richard Gasquet, as the holder hammered Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-2 in 67 minutes with six aces and three breaks of serve.
Simon, who flew to Asia immediately after defeating compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to claim the Metz title at the weekend, admitted that he did not know that he was on the cusp of a personal milestone.
"I must be getting older, I want to get to 400 now," joked the 28-year-old, who became the ninth Frenchman in the post-1968 Open era to win at least 300 matches in Tour play.
Canadian third seed Milos Raonic needed just over two and a half hours to win his opening match, overcoming Australian Marinko Matosevic 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-4 with a 21-ace performance.
Matosevic was under constant pressure, forced to save 15 of 16 break points before Raonic broke in the final game to earn victory.
"It was a little bit frustrating," said the winner, ranked 11th.
"But he played well on a lot of those break points so I can't always blame myself.
"I couldn't ask any more, I just told myself to hang in there and keep going."
The Canadian will Friday meet Spain's Feliciano Lopez a month after beating the sixth seed in the US Open third round.
Russian fifth seed Mikhail Youzhny took victory over Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-3 while Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun beat Czech eighth seed Lukas Rosol 6-3, 6-2.
Simon began with an early break against Tomic, carrying that margin through the opening set, which he won in 43 minutes.
The French player earned the break for 6-5 in the second set as his Australian opponent put a return wide.
Simon closed out victory a game later, following another error from Tomic after 79 minutes.
Simon, whose second child was born this month, said it took a big effort to get up for his noon start in the second round against Tomic after an opening-round bye.
"I'm still on European time, so it was a 7am start and a 3am wake up," he said.
"It was tough today, but I like the conditions here," said the 2012 Bangkok finalist who won the event in 2009.
"I suppose that's why I've been successful here most of the time."
"I was afraid of this match but I got through it, I'm happy about that, now I'll try to recover as best as I can and be ready for tomorrow."
On Friday, the world number 14 will face Dutchman Igor Sijsling, whom he defeated in their only previous meeting indoors in Metz three years ago.
Simon has now reached the quarter-finals or better nine times this season after winning his 34th match of the season against 20 losses.