Gasquet, Monfils reach quarters; Simon exits Montpellier

Montpellier, France ( - French stars Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils found safe passage into the quarterfinals, while second-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon came up a second-round loser Thursday at the Open Sud de France tennis tournament.

The top-seeded and defending champion Gasquet whipped wild card, 2002 titlist, and fellow Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-1, 6-3 on the indoor hardcourts at Arena Montpellier.

The two-time winner and current world No. 9 Gasquet beat Benoit Paire in last year's all-French finale and also captured this event back in 2006 in Lyon.

Gasquet's quarterfinal opponent will be fellow countryman Albano Olivetti.

Meanwhile, qualifier and two-time runner-up Marc Gicquel ousted his compatriot Simon in 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 fashion and a fifth-seeded Monfils avoided an upset by handling Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-2.

The former top-10 star Monfils captured this tournament in 2010 and was the runner-up in 2005, in Lyon, and 2012.

Third-seeded towering Pole Jerzy Janowicz fired 17 aces in booking a spot in the final eight by handling left-handed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.

The 6-foot-8 Janowicz will meet another Frenchman, seventh-seeded Edouard Roger-Vasselin, on Friday.

In other action involving seeds, Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin drove out No. 4 Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 7-5, 6-4, No. 6 Jarkko Nieminen of Finland withstood 23 aces in foiling French wild card Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), and Roger-Vasselin doused German Dustin Brown 6-3, 6-4. Istomin will face Monfils on Friday, while Nieminen will take on the 36-year-old Gicquel.

Another result saw the qualifier Olivetti take out one-time world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5.

This week's titlist will collect $105,000.