- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

MONTPELLIER, France (AP) - Top-seeded Richard Gasquet of France was hardly troubled by countryman Albano Olivetti as he won 6-4, 6-2 on Friday to reach the Open Sud de France semifinals and stay on course to defend his title.

Although Olivetti, a qualifier, had 13 aces, he failed to force a single break-point chance on Gasquet’s serve and lost his own three times.

Gasquet next plays third-seeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, who won had 18 aces in a 6-2, 6-4 win against seventh-seeded Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France.

“It was a tough match. I know Edouard very well from the Tour and I knew that I had to be very good on my serve and aggressive on my returns to have a chance,” said Janowicz, who is 1-1 against Gasquet in their head-to-heads. “Gasquet will be a very difficult opponent. I know he is playing very, very well.”

No. 5 Gael Monfils of France advanced after beating Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-4, 6-4 and next plays No. 6 Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, who won 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) win against Marc Gicquel of France.

“I felt very good on the court today,” said Monfils, who won the tournament four years ago and holds a 3-0 record against Nieminen. “I felt the ball really well and had a lot of fun today. As each day goes by, I am feeling better and better and raising my game.”

The 36-year-old Gicquel missed five break-point chances in the deciding set.

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