Monfils crashes out in Nice
Nice - Gael Monfils and Marcos Baghdatis, ranked third anf fifth seeds respectively, both crashed out in the quarter-finals of the ATP tournament here on Thursday.
World number 15 Monfils fell to Italian journeyman Potito Starace, ranked 63rd, in straight sets, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 and did not offer any excuses for a defeat which does not bode well for the French Open that starts Sunday.
"He played better than me. I had my chances but I just gifted it to him," bemoaned Monfils.
"I needed matches and I'm happy to have played two here even if I am disappointed because I wanted to win the tournament."
Unheralded Argentine Leonardo Mayer, ranked 59th in the world, needed three hours to get past the world number 29 Baghdatis from Cyprus 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Monfils and Baghdatis were the sixth and seventh seeds to fall here with top seeded Swede Robin Soderling going out on Wednesday, along with fourth seed Thomaz Belluci of Brazil, Spaniard Albert Montanes (six), Germany's Michael Berrer (seven) and Pole Lukasz Kubot (eight).
Mayer will play Spanish second seed Fernando Verdasco, winner over Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, for a place in the final.
The other semi-final sees Starace taking on Frenchman Richard Gasquet, 6-4, 6-2 victor over Belgian Olivier Rochus.
Quarter-final results (x denotes seeding):
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP x5) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
Fernando Verdasco (ESP x2) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4
Potito Starace (ITA) bt Gael Monfils (FRA x3) 7-6 (7/2), 6-2
Richard Gasquet (FRA) bt Olivier Rochus (BEL) 6-4, 6-2