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By Chris Oddo

(September 28, 2012) -- Top seeded Janko Tipsarevic advanced to his seventh ATP semifinal of the year with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over Fernando Verdasco at the Thailand Open on Friday. The World No. 9 saved seven of nine break points in winning for the fourth time in six career matches against Verdasco.

Verdasco, a former World No. 7, has not won a title in over two years.

"It was a tough match but I was expecting it," said Tipsarevic. "I played Fernando five times before. It never happened that any one of us won easily.”

Tipsarevic, who reached the US Open quarterfinals before losing to David Ferrer in an epic encounter, will look to close the gap for the final spot in the ATP World Tour Finals in Saturday’s semifinal. He entered the week just 185 spots behind Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the eighth spot.

(Related: Thailand Open Results)

Tipsarevic will face Gilles Simon in the semifinals on Saturday. Simon notched an easy victory against his compatriot Gael Monfils, 6-4, 6-1. It was the third win in four career match for Simon against Monfils, and the victory keeps alive the Frenchman’s hopes of winning a second title in 2012. Simon won his tenth ATP title in Bucharest this April.

“I've known him for a long time,” Simon said of Monfils after the match. “So I know the way I have to play him and I think I will have to play another [style of] game tomorrow."

Monfils, who made his comeback from a four-month absence due to a knee injury just last week, has reached quarterfinals in back-to-back weeks.

Simon, 27, won the Thailand Open title in 2009 when he defeated Viktor Troicki in the final. The World No. 19 was also a semifinalist last year, losing to eventual champion Andy Murray in three sets.

In other quarterfinal action on Friday, Jarkko Nieminen upset hard-serving Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6(3), while Richard Gasquet took out Bernard Tomic 7-6(5), 6-4.

Nieminen, meeting the 21-year-old World No. 15 for the first time, lost only ten points on his first serve and did not face a break point all evening.

Gasquet saved all three break points he faced in his first meeting with the 19-year-old Tomic.

Gasquet will face Nieminen for the fifth time in Saturday's semifinal round. The Frenchman owns a 3-1 career edge against Nieminen, but lost their last encounter in 2010 in Montpelier, France. The World No. 14, who was forced to go the distance with Grigor Dimitrov in a 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 second-round win, is the only semifinalist to have lost a set in Bangkok.

 

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