Mathieu wins in straight sets

METZ, France -- Frenchman Paul-Henri
Mathieu downed Metz Open top seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia in
straight sets to reach the semifinals Friday.

Mathieu, who returned to tennis in July after being
sidelined by a wrist injury for six months, tamed Ljubicic 7-6 (4),

Earlier, Richard Gasquet beat compatriot Gael Monfils 7-5,
6-1 in the battle between French teenagers and will meet Mathieu
in Saturday's semifinals.

"Sorry for ousting the number one seed from the tournament,
but what makes me pleased is that we are now certain that at
least one of us (the French) will play in the final," Mathieu

"It was a tough game because Ljubicic served very well
today, especially during the first set," he said. "I'm quite
happy with my game since I resumed playing."

Gasquet, 18, got the better of Monfils, also 18, and widely
considered as a rising power in French tennis despite Friday's

Monfils, 356th in the world, ousted Belgian Xavier Malisse in the first round and put great pressure on Gasquet in the first set.

But he slipped to 5-0 down in the second and Gasquet ran out
the winner. Gasquet said: "He played really well in the first
set but you can't expect to carry on with winners throughout a
match and I changed my strategy in the second. It paid off."

Later quarterfinals featured Arnaud Clement against French
compatriot Jerome Haehnel and Spain's Alex Corretja against
American Jeff Morrison.