Third seed Milos Raonic and number four Gilles Simon began play at the Thailand Open on Thursday with victories into the quarter-finals over a pair of Australian opponents.
Raonic had to work for more than two and a half hours to get past Marinko Matosevic, breaking in the final game of a struggle to produce a 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4 second-round victory thanks in part to 21 aces.
Simon, losing finalist a year ago to fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet, won the 300th match of his career by defeating Bernard Tomic 6-4, 7-5. Simon was riding a wave of confidence after winning the Metz title last weekend with a defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Gasquet had an easy outing against Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-2 to reach the last eight, Youzhny won his second-round match over Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-3, while Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun defeated Czech eighth seed Lukas Rosol 6-3, 6-2.
Simon became the ninth Frenchman in the post-1968 Open era to win at least 300 matches in Tour play.
“It was tough today, but I like the conditions here,” said Simon, the 2009 champion who had to make an early noon start after only arriving a few days ago from Europe. “I suppose that’s why I’ve been successful here most of the time.” “I was afraid of this match but I got through it, I’m happy about that, now I’ll try to recover as best as I can and be ready for tomorrow.” Simon will face Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands in the next round.
Matosevic saved 15 of 16 break points against Raonic before the Canadian broke in the final game.
“It was a little bit frustrating,” the 11th-ranked Raonic said.
“But he played well on a lot of those break points so I can’t always blame myself.
“I couldn’t ask any more, I just told myself to hang in there and keep going.” Raonic now takes on Feliciano Lopez in a re-match of their U.S. Open meeting this month.