Top seed Tomas Berdych was tested mightily in his second-round match Wednesday at the $700,000 Open 13 tennis event.
The former Wimbledon runner-up outlasted capable Latvian wild card Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-7 (10-12), 6-4 in 2 hours, 12 minutes to reach the quarterfinals on the indoor surface at Palais des Sports. Gulbis smacked 19 aces in a losing effort, as Berdych broke three times, compared to only one break for the tough-luck loser.
Former top-10 Frenchman and 2007 champion Gilles Simon posted a first-round win, as this week's sixth seed beat Dutchman Robin Haase 7-5, 7-5.
Promising Aussie Bernard Tomic booked a spot in the quarterfinals by handling Indian Somdev Devvarman 6-3, 7-5 in a second-round affair.
In some other opening-round play, 2010 runner-up Julien Benneteau beat wild card and fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille 7-6 (7-0), 6-3 and Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov vanquished French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-5, 6-3.
On Thursday, second-seeded Juan Martin del Potro will face French favorite Michael Llodra, the 2010 champion and 2009 runner-up in Marseille, in a rematch of last year's final here, which was won by the tall Argentine. The former U.S. Open champion del Potro is also fresh off his title in Rotterdam last week.