By Chris Oddo, Friday, October 18, 2013
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet boosed their London bids, while Milos Raonic's hopes took a blow with his loss to Benoit Paire in Stockholm.
Photo Credit: AP
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet moved closer to booking spots at the season ending Barclays ATP World Tour finals by reaching semifinals in Vienna and Moscow Respectively.
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Tsonga, who currently holds the last qualifying spot, and Gasquet, who is just 50 rankings points behind his compatriot, each created some distance between themselves and Milos Raonic on Friday, thanks to one of their own.
Frenchman and World No. 25 Benoit Paire notched a straight-sets victory over Raonic in Stockholm to reach his fourth ATP semifinal of the year and hand the Canadian his first loss in six ATP quarterfinals, 7-6 (3), 6-3. Paire saved seven of eight break points in the match, including a fight back from triple-break point down while on serve in the second set.
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He broke Raonic in the eighth game to lead 5-3, and served the match out with ease for his 32nd win of the season.
Raonic, who is currently 240 points behind Tsonga for the last London spot, will head to Basel for next week's Swiss indoors.
Tsonga, who defeated Austrian wild card Dominic Thiem in a third-set tiebreaker, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3), will face Robin Haase in Saturday's semifinal round.
Gasquet won his 46th match of 2013 against only 18 losses when he defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili, 6-3, 6-2. The 27-year-old, just three wins shy of his career-best total of 49 (2007), will face Ivo Karlovic in the semis. Karlovic ended the run of 17-year-old Russian Karen Khachanov on Friday, 6-4, 6-0 in 52 minutes.
The second-set bagel handed out by the 6'10” Croatian was his first bagel in 432 matches.
Tomas Berdych, Stan Wawrinka, Roger Federer and Tsonga currently hold the last four London spots, but none has officially qualified yet.
If Tsonga can win the Vienna title this weekend, he will vault Federer and Wawrinka and move into sixth place in the race.