Blake advances to Estoril Open quarters

Blake advances to Estoril Open quarters

OEIRAS, Portugal (AP) -- Top-seeded Gilles Simon and James Blake advanced Thursday to the quarterfinals of the Estoril Open.

Simon won eight straight games in defeating Fabio Fognini 6-0, 7-5, and Blake withstood a first-set tiebreaker to win 7-6 (6), 6-2 over Marc Gicquel.

The Frenchman overpowered Fognini in the first set, which lasted only 22 minutes, before the Italian found his stride in the second and broke Simon twice.

Blake had five aces and looked more assured on the outdoor clay court. The fourth-seeded American showed more authority in the second, breaking Gicquel in the fifth and seventh games.

Blake will play on eighth-seeded Florent Serra, who defeated Juan Monaco 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

Simon will meet seventh-seeded Albert Montanes, who defeated Simon Greul 6-2, 6-2.

In the women’s event, sixth-seeded Ekaterina Makarova will be the highest seed in the semifinals after rallying to stop second-seeded Maria Kirilenko 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

She will take on Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who advanced after fourth-seeded Sabrine Lisicki retired with a shoulder injury after losing the first set 6-2.

The other semifinal will pit Shahar Peer of Israel against Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium. Peer ousted Jarmila Groth 6-2, 0-6, 6-3, and Wickmayer upset third-seeded Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

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