Ljubicic the lone seeded player left at Lyon

Oct 26, 2007 - 2:39 PM LYON, France (Ticker) -- Fifth-seeded Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia will try to advance to his eighth semifinal of the year on Friday at the $965,000 Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon.

A day after getting past American Sam Querrey, Ljubicic was challenged by French wild card Thierry Ascione, but escaped with a 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5) triumph on Thursday.

The 2001 champion of this event, Ljubicic is looking for his third title of the year with his last coming at 's-Hertogenbosch in June. Columbian Alejandro Falla, a 6-2, 6-1 winner over lucky loser Oliver Marach, is his quarterfinal opponent.

Ljubicic is the only seeded player remaining after fourth-seeded defending champion Richard Gasquet and fellow Frenchman No. 8 Gilles Simon were upset on Thursday.

Gasquet was defeated by countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-4, 6-4, as the 22-year-old never faced a break point and was strong with his first serve, winning 32 of 40 points, including 10 aces.

Ranked 65th in the world, it was Tsonga's first career win against a top 15 player as Gasquet currently ranks 11th in the world.

Tsonga, who will face Olivier Rochus of Belgium in the round of eight on Friday, also reached the quarterfinals in Metz earlier this month before falling to world No. 16 Andy Murray. A win over Rochus would give Tsonga his first career ATP semifinal appearence.

Simon, meanwhile, was upset by compatriot Julien Benneteau, 7-5, 6-4, during their second-round match.

Benneteau will next face Sebastien Grosjean in a French showdown in Friday's feature match at the indoor carpet event.

Grosjean advanced to the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win against countryman Fabrice Santoro on Thursday despite a power outage which delayed the match during the second set.

In Friday's opening match, unseeded Marc Gicquel moved into the semifinals with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph against Diego Hartfield of Argentina.

Gicquel has not exactly been a household name on the ATP Tour but he's definitely made his presence known at this event during the past two years.

The Frenchman was a runner-up to Gasquet in 2006 and is 9-2 here in his career, including a first-round upset victory against No. 2 Tommy Robredo.

Playing on home soil, the 30-year-old finds himself two wins away from his first career title.

First prize is $136,000.






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