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Paire among three French players in semis

Feb. 8, 2013 at 3:13 PM

MONTPELLIER, France, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Benoit Paire upset countryman Gilles Simon in a tight two-set match Friday in quarterfinal play of the Open Sud de France tennis tournament.

Paire, the No. 8 seed, ousted the fourth-seeded Simon 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) by fighting off eight of 10 break points. He did drop serve once in each set but had two breaks in the first set to take the lead and used the other to force a tiebreaker, which he won.

Paire was one of three French players to gain semifinal berths. Third-seeded Richard Gasquet and unseeded Michael Llodra will also be on Saturday's schedule.

Gasquet, like Paire, defeated a French player, stopping sixth-seeded Julien Benneteau 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. He had three breaks and took about two-thirds of the points in each the first and third sets.

Llodra handled Jan Hajek 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, saving the only break point he saw. He dropped just 15 points in nine service games.

In the other quarterfinal, Jarkko Nieminen got by Sergiy Stakhovsky 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9-2). Each player had three breaks, including two by both in the third set before the decisive tiebreaker.

The all-French semifinal pitting Paire versus Llodra will mark the first time they will have played an ATP match. Gasquet owns a 4-1 career edge in matches against Nieminen, his semifinal foe.

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