Simon, Tsonga Move Into Marrakech Semi-finals
Tsonga sweeps past Sonego in final match of day
Three Frenchmen — fourth seed Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Benoit Paire — will feature in the Grand Prix Hassan II semi-finals on Saturday for the first time since 2008. Eleven years ago, Simon, Tsonga and Julien Benneteau featured in the penultimate round.
Simon battled past Taro Daniel, saving 12 of 15 break points, in a 6-4, 7-5 victory over two hours and 34 minutes on Friday for a place in the semi-finals against Pablo Andujar, who advanced without playing when his Czech opponent Jiri Vesely withdrew due to a right toe injury. Simon won the 2008 trophy, while Andujar is a three-time titlist (2011-12, 2018).
Tsonga required 67 minutes to beat Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-2, winning 26 of his 29 first-service points. “My opponent played very well this week,” said Tsonga. “So I tried to take the initiative and put him under pressure right from the beginning. The goal is to play well again tomorrow and reach the final. I feel well here, we are in Africa. The fans support me a lot.”
Benoit Paire booked his place in the semi-finals for the second time in three years by knocking out #NextGenATP Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-1, 6-3 in 59 minutes. Munar had overcome World No. 3 Alexander Zverev in the second round on Thursday.
“I played aggressively today and was able to bother him,” said Paire. “I made the right choices and I’m really happy with my match today. Jo is a great player, I’ve never beaten him. So it will be a complicated match for sure. But the last matches gave me confidence, so I look forward to the semi-final.”
First-Time Team Finalists To Contest Doubles Championship
Matwe Middelkoop and Frederik Nielsen reached their first ATP Tour doubles final as a team by beating Simone Bolelli and Malek Jaziri 6-3, 6-2 in 50 minutes. They will face Jurgen Melzer and Franko Skugor, who will also contest their first team championship after the pair defeated Leander Paes and Benoit Paire 1-6, 6-3, 10-5 in 71 minutes.