Estoril, Portugal – Top seed and defending champion Juan Martin del Potro and second-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet led the charge, as this week's top-four seeds all secured berths in Saturday's semifinals at the $525,000 Estoril Open tennis event.
The former U.S. Open champ del Potro pummeled seventh-seeded two-time Estoril titlist Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-2 in 77 minutes. The towering Argentine cracked five aces and broke Montanes' serve six times at National Stadium.
The Spanish Montanes was a back-to-back Estoril champ in 2009 and 2010.
Del Potro beat another Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco, in last year's Estoril finale.
Up next for del Potro will be third-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka, who posted a 6-1, 6-4 victory over sixth-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase on Day 5.
Del Potro and Wawrinka have split four career matchups and haven't met since 2009.
The other semi will pit Gasquet against recent Casablanca runner-up Albert Ramos. The sweet-swinging Gasquet grounded Spanish qualifier Daniel Munoz-De La Nava 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, while the fourth-seeded Spaniard Ramos downed Portuguese wild card Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-3 in Friday's quarterfinal action. Gasquet was the Estoril runner-up in 2007.
The winner of this clay-court French Open tune-up will claim $95,000.