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French clash in Bangkok semis

Latest update : 2008-09-27

Two of France's best tennis hopes, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gaël Monfils, will play against each other at the Bangkok ATP Open for a ticket to the final. It will be the first encounter between the two players in an ATP competition.

French pair Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils will clash for the first time after straight set victories in the quarter-finals of the Thailand Open on Friday.

Australian Open finalist Tsonga, fresh from a Thai boxing session, beat Austria's Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2 in 55 minutes.

Tsonga overwhelmed Melzer in their match, firing a dozen aces and breaking the Austrian three times, showing a solid recovery after missing three months with knee surgery.

"It was an easy match," said the winner. "I played some good tennis, it was much better than my previous match. It's good to reach the semi-finals."

Fourth seed Monfils ended German Philipp Petzschner's run 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 to set-up a semi-final showdown with his compatriot.

But Czech third seed Tomas Berdych spoiled a possible French hat-trick with his 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 victory over world number 74 Nicolas Mahut, in the other quarter-final.

A win for second seed Tsonga could see a re-run of the Australian Open final in January, when he lost to world number three Novak Djokovic.

Serbian top seed Djokovic faces a quarter-final against Sweden's Robin Soderling, who is back on form after a straight-set exit at the Beijing Olympics and US Open.

World number 30 Monfils, a popular semi-finalist at Roland Garros last spring, reached his third ATP-level semi-final of the season as he stayed in the hunt for a spot at the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai in November.

Winning the Thailand title would catapult Monfils, whose only other title success came in Sopot three years ago, into the Top 20 ahead of Shanghai.

But Tsonga said he would not be doing Monfils any favours.

"We are friends but I will tell him to treat me like any other player -- I will be doing the same," said the world number 20.

"It should be a good show, a very good match. I'm not surprised we French players are doing well. We have a group of five guys in the Top 30."

Date created : 2008-09-26