Llorda, Nieminen reach Open Sud semis

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iol spt feb8 Tennis REUTERS Michael Llodra of France and Jarkko Nieminen of Finland advanced to the Open Sud de France semifinals.

MONTPELLIER, France – Michael Llodra of France and Jarkko Nieminen of Finland advanced to the Open Sud de France semifinals in contrasting fashion on Friday.

Llodra hit 11 aces in a 7-6 (3), 6-1 win against Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic, sealing the victory with a volley at the net, while Nieminen rallied to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), with both players dropping serve three times.

Stakhovsky broke Nieminen to lead 3-1 in the deciding set, but Nieminen leveled immediately. Then Nieminen broke Stakhovsky in the 11th game only to be broken back.

Llodra's semifinal opponent will be the winner of Friday's all-French quarterfinal between fourth-seeded Gilles Simon and eighth-seeded Benoit Paire, while Nieminen takes on either third-seeded Richard Gasquet or No. 6 Julien Benneteau. – Sapa-AP


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