France's top tennis player Gilles Simon (pictured) lost in two straight sets to American Andy Roddick, who booked the sixth spot in the Shanghai Masters tournament. Despite the loss, the Frenchman still harbours hopes of scraping in.
US star Andy Roddick reached the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters on Thursday and in so doing clinched his season-ending Shanghai Masters Cup berth, beating Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 7-5.
Simon stood eighth in the ATP Race going into Thursday's match but realistically needed to win as James Blake of the United States and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are breathing down his neck.
For Roddick, his win cemented sixth spot and he next faces either Tsonga or third seed Novak Djokovic, who were facing off in a repeat of the Australian Open final won by the Serbian.
Argentine eighth seed and title-holder David Nalbandian earlier thrashed his ninth-seeded Davis Cup teammate Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 6-0 to become the first quarter-finalist at the Paris Masters.
Nalbandian, who took the pair's series to 3-1 in his favour in their third meeting inside a month, next faces either fourth-seeded Briton Andy Murray or Spanish 15th seed Fernando Verdasco.
A missed break point - one of four in total - in the seventh game of the second set was the closest Simon came to an upset. In a high-wire act he saved four match points in the 12th game before succumbing.
With his loss to Nalbandian, Del Potro, suffering from a broken toenail, now must sweat on joining Roddick in China.
The rising star is seventh in the ATP Race but could slide out of the eight-man field depending on other results here.
"I don't like playing against friends or Argentinian players - it's tough," said a crestfallen Del Potro.
"David did a great match. I don't know if I'll play Shanghai - I'm not qualified yet.
"At least if I don't I have the Davis Cup for sure - and that gives me plenty of motivation."
Nalbandian, who assured Spanish reporters the Argentine crowd would give them a warm Davis Cup welcome in Mar del Plata, said Murray would be a huge obstacle.
"He's doing great - won a lot of important titles. He's a talent."
Murray is seeking this week to become the first man to win three straight Masters events after triumphs in Cincinnati and Madrid.
Nalbandian could still theoretically qualify for China - "I will see if and when the time comes," he insisted - but is focused on teaming up with Del Potro afterwards as Argentina target a first Davis Cup final at the expense of Rafael Nadal's Spain on November 21-23 in Mar del Plata.
After Roddick's win, two Shanghai slots remained up for grabs on a day when nine of the world's top ten were in action.
In evening play, world number one Nadal was taking on French hope Gael Monfils while second-ranked Roger Federer was meeting Croatian Marin Cilic.
Sixth-seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia was playing Tomas Berdych in the late match in a battle of former champions.
Date created : 2008-10-30