Tsonga barely advances; Gasquet exits Metz

Top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga escaped his quarterfinal match with a victory on Friday, while fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet went by way of the upset at the $550,000 Moselle Open tennis event.

Tsonga, eyeing this third final of the year, dropped the first set and then trailed in the third before fighting back to beat fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 on the indoor hardcourts at Metz Expo Park. The world No. 10 Tsonga swatted 20 aces and had his serve broken only once by the hard-luck loser Mahut.

The former Australian Open runner-up Tsonga needed just over two hours to outlast Mahut, who is best-known for battling 6-foot-9 American John Isner in last year's record-long opening-round tennis match at Wimbledon.

The 2011 Wimbledon semifinalist Tsonga's semifinal opponent on Saturday will be third-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who was leading sixth-seeded Xavier Malisse 6-3, 1-0 on Friday when the Belgian retired.

Gasquet, meanwhile, gave way to eighth-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, 6-3, 6-4, on Day 5. The left-handed Muller will face fourth-seeded former Metz champ Ivan Ljubicic on Saturday. The Croatian Ljubicic, who titled here back in 2005, handled Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling 6-4, 6-3 after firing 13 aces, including a match-ending one.

The 2011 Moselle Open titlist will collect $100,000.