Gilles Simon thrilled home fans by reaching the semi-finals of the Paris Masters as he beat Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4, but fellow home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost in straight sets to David Ferrer.
The Spanish fourth seed Ferrer, winner of his sixth title of the season in Valencia last week, prevailed 6-2, 7-5 in 80 minutes
France had a final chance for success as unseeded Michael Llodra played American Sam Querrey.
Simon will attempt on Saturday night (AEDT) to end the dream run of lanky Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz, who reached the final four as eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic quit with illness ("sudden fatigue") after being seen on court by the doctor, 3-6, 6-1, 4-1.
The victory was the second surprise in 24 hours for Janowicz, ranked 69th, who stunned Andy Murray on Friday (AEDT).
The first Polish player to play a Masters 1000 quarter-final is now the first into the semis at the elite level after Tipsarevic threw in the towel after one and three-quarter hours.
The Serb was the last man to qualify for the season final in London which begins on Monday. Janowicz fired a modest nine aces, produced 33 winners and broke Tipsarevic four times.
"I really want to play 100 per cent and do everything I need to win the match,'' said Simon of his next challenge.
"If I win, it's going to be fabulous, but if I lose, it's going to be easier to accept."
Janowicz was overjoyed with another day of victory.
"In the second and third set I just played the best tennis of my life," said the stunned winner. "I didn't know actually I can play that good.
"I had like a cold start, but after this first set I just relaxed a little bit - and I did something magical.
"I just played really like I can put every single ball in, and I'm in semi-final. It's really not easy for me to realize actually what is going on in my life right now."
Simon has been making his own luck all week after starting out by beating former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis and then putting out lucky loser Victor Hanescu, who replaced absent top seed Roger Federer in the draw.
Simon had a free pass into the quarters as Japan's Kei Nishikori pulled out before their third-round match with an ankle injury.
Simon said he was satisfied with his performance and was happy to play well at a tournament that he loves in front of a home crowd, including his young son.
"I grew up not far from here (Fontenay-sous-Bois). It's the tournament that I watched when I was young. I've always wanted to do well. Up until not it's always not gone badly. It feels good to finally do well.
"I had good feelings today, I made very few unforced errors. I was very consistent during the whole match."
"I hope I'll go even further," he added.
Berdych has been on a roll, winning 22 of his last 26 matches at the Masters event which he won in 2005. He has now lost to Simon in five of seven matches.
"He was just too good today, he made no mistakes at all," said Berdych. "I lost to a better player today, he played well and deserved to win."
AFPTags: sport, tennis, france First posted November 03, 2012 10:14:02