Mathieu wins in straight sets

Updated: October 15, 2004, 7:37 PM ET
Reuters

METZ, France -- Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu downed Metz Open top seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia in straight sets to reach the semifinals Friday.

Mathieu, who returned to tennis in July after being sidelined by a wrist injury for six months, tamed Ljubicic 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Earlier, Richard Gasquet beat compatriot Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-1 in the battle between French teenagers and will meet Mathieu in Saturday's semifinals.

"Sorry for ousting the number one seed from the tournament, but what makes me pleased is that we are now certain that at least one of us (the French) will play in the final," Mathieu said.

"It was a tough game because Ljubicic served very well today, especially during the first set," he said. "I'm quite happy with my game since I resumed playing."

Gasquet, 18, got the better of Monfils, also 18, and widely considered as a rising power in French tennis despite Friday's setback.

Monfils, 356th in the world, ousted Belgian Xavier Malisse in the first round and put great pressure on Gasquet in the first set.

But he slipped to 5-0 down in the second and Gasquet ran out the winner. Gasquet said: "He played really well in the first set but you can't expect to carry on with winners throughout a match and I changed my strategy in the second. It paid off."

Later quarterfinals featured Arnaud Clement against French compatriot Jerome Haehnel and Spain's Alex Corretja against American Jeff Morrison.

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