MARSEILLES, France -- Top-seeded Rafael Nadal beat French wild card Gilles Simon 7-5, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Open 13.
Nadal enjoyed an easier second round after saving a match point in his opening match. The 19-year-old Spaniard had to rally from 5-3 down in the first set against Simon.
"He started off very aggressively and it was tough for me to get in the game," Nadal said. "I was lucky at 5-3 down in the first when he made a few errors and I started to dictate play a little more."
He next plays Paul-Henri Mathieu of France, who upset seventh-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 7-6 (0), 6-3.
Third-seeded Nikolay Davydenko also bowed out, losing to Russian countryman and lucky loser Evgeny Korolev 6-4, 7-6 (6). Korolev, who turned 18 on Tuesday, replaced the injured Tim Henman in the draw.
Second-seeded Ivan Ljubicic beat Igor Andreev of Russia 7-6 (5), 6-4 and will play for a semifinal spot against fellow Croat Mario Ancic.
Ancic beat French qualifier Jean-Christophe Faurel 6-3, 6-3 and was a little wary of his next match.
"Of course it's always a little bit strange playing a guy who you just played with in the Davis Cup," Ancic said. "We won together an Olympic medal and played last year's Davis Cup. But when you are professionals, you know in this type of game and this
level we can meet all the time."
Ljubicic, last year's Open 13 runner-up, is 2-0 against Ancic.
French veteran Fabrice Santoro secured a quarterfinal berth by beating Greg Rusedski of Britain 6-3, 6-2. Next up is fellow Frenchman and wild card Arnaud Clement, who defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-3.