French trio on song in Thailand

2012-09-27 20:38

Bangkok - French second seed Richard Gasquet battled back from a set down on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the Thailand Open alongside compatriots Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils.

Young guns Milos Raonic of Canada and Australia's Bernard Tomic are also through to the last eight in Bangkok, though Tomic was forced to dig deep before winning in three sets.

Gasquet lost the first set but recovered to beat Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in more than two hours on court, and next faces Tomic, who came out on top 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 against Israeli Dudi Sela.

"It was difficult to play aggressive against him, he gives you all kinds of stuff - like I do. I guess that's why guys don't like to play me," said Tomic, 19.

Third-seed Raonic beat Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in a battle between two of the game's biggest servers, while Spanish fifth seed Fernando Verdasco ended the hopes of 2011 finalist Donald Young of the United States 7-5, 6-4.

Simon, the 2009 champion and fourth seed, continued to struggle with shoulder problems but advanced to the last eight by beating Japan's Go Soeda 6-4, 6-4.

The Frenchman said his long, slow recovery from injury was still taking a toll on his game.

"I'm not serving my best and that makes life difficult," said the 19th-ranked player. "I don't get any easy points, I have to fight every point from the baseline.

"I think we played a great match, all things considered. I had to play incredible from the baseline. I'm just happy to get through this one. My shoulder is slowly getting better but I must continue to play this way for now."

Simon will battle Monfils for a semi-final spot. Monfils, playing only his second event after a four-month injury lay-off, upset Serbian sixth seed Viktor Troicki 7-5, 7-5, switching tactics after trailing in the opening set.

"He was playing better early on and I was giving him mistakes. I tried a lot of things," said Monfils. "Finally I began slicing more and hitting harder. It turned into a physical fight. I was able to run him all over the court.

"I'm gaining confidence from another quality win here. It was my second tough match here."

Monfils said that while he did not doubt that Simon was struggling with his shoulder, his compatriot had at least been playing regularly.

"How many events has he missed? Four months out with a knee injury is much worse, he said. "I'd much rather be him than me going into our match. I'm not saying he has nothing (wrong), but he's still been playing all along."

Results from the ATP Thailand Open in Bangkok on Thursday:

Second round

Gilles Simon (FRA x4) bt Go Soeda (JPN) 6-4, 6-4
Bernard Tomic (AUS x8) bt Dudi Sela (ISR) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Gael Monfils (FRA) bt Viktor Troicki (SRB x6) 7-5, 7-5
Fernando Verdasco (ESP x5) bt Donald Young (USA) 7-5, 6-4
Milos Raonic (CAN x3) bt Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
Richard Gasquet (FRA x2) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 5-7, 7-5, 6-4