• Eastbourne - Simon, Llodra highlight all-French quarterfinal

    6/17/10 1:39 AM | Kelli DeMario
    Eastbourne - Simon, Llodra highlight all-French quarterfinal Countrymen Gilles Simon and Michael Llodra will battle for a place in the AEGON International semifinal late Thursday. The pair is joined in quarterfinal action by compatriot Julien Benneteau, who faces Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

    (3) Gilles Simon vs. (8) Michael Llodra

    Third seed Gilles Simon is set to continue his return to ATP World Tour competition Thursday afternoon, as he faces 8th-seeded fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra. The World No. 32 has yet to record a win over his elder countrymen in four previous attempts. The players last met in 2009 at Lyon, where a semifinal meeting went to Llodra in three sets.

    Simon advanced to the final eight after holding on to defeat Evgeny Korolev and qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov, both in straight sets. With a victory on Thursday, the 25-year-old reaches his first semifinal since Lyon in October 2009.

    The 46th-ranked Llodra is bidding for his second semifinal of the season. The 8th seed will be making his second consecutive grass-court quarterfinal appearance in as many weeks. Llodra began the week with a 6-0, 6-3 victory against qualifier Martin Emmrich, then followed with a three-set win over compatriot Stephane Robert in the round of 16.

    Prediction: Llodra in straight sets.

    (4) Julien Benneteau vs. (5) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

    Fourth seed Julien Benneteau holds a 2-1 edge over 5th-seeded quarterfinal-round opponent Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The pair split two meetings in 2009, including a round of 16 clash at the Masters 1000 Cincinnati that went the Frenchman’s way in three sets.

    Benneteau enters into the quarterfinal with an 18-13 season record. The 28-year-old will attempt to book his first semifinal since February, when he finished runner-up in Marseille. The Frenchman made the last eight at the AEGON International with straight-set wins over both James Blake and Dudi Sela.

    World No. 41 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez remains on course to secure his second consecutive semifinal at the AEGON International. The Spaniard extended his 2010 record to 17-15, having recorded early-round victories against Marc Gicquel and Fabio Fognini.

    Prediction: Benneteau in three sets.

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