Monfils, Gasquet reach semis; Janowicz ousts Simon in France

Montpellier, France ( - Reigning champion Gael Monfils and former titlist Richard Gasquet landed in the semifinals, while towering Pole Jerzy Janowicz subdued second-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon in Friday's quarterfinal action at the Open Sud de France tennis event.

The top-seeded former top-10 star Monfils overcame game Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The two-time Open Sud de France champion Monfils improved to 19-3 at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament, where he also captured the title in 2010. He topped Gasquet in last year's all-French finale to capture this event for a second time in his fourth final.

Monfils and Gasquet will battle in a rematch of last year's final here on Saturday. Monfils is 7-4 lifetime against Gasquet and the compatriots have split a pair of matches here in Montpellier.

The fourth-seeded French crowd favorite Gasquet grounded sixth seed Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-4 on Friday. The former top-10 star captured this tournament in Lyon in 2006 and here in Montpellier two years ago.

Meanwhile, the fifth-seeded 6-foot-8 Janowicz reached his first ATP semifinal since last August by vanquishing the three-time Open Sud semifinalist Simon 6-2, 7-5 in 75 minutes at Montpellier Arena.

"Definitely I played my best match of the season," said Janowicz. "Today, I knew I had to play my best tennis because Gilles moves incredibly well on the court. He also reads the game so well and he's one of the best returners in the world. I knew I had to be focused on my serve all the time. I did that and I was playing aggressive throughout."

Janowicz' semifinal opponent on Saturday will be rising seventh-seeded Portuguese Joao Sousa, who upended third-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 on Day 5.

The 2015 Montpellier champion will earn $90,000.