Nick Kyrgios kept on course to defend his Marseille Open title with a 6-3 6-3 quarter-final victory over Slovak qualifier Norbert Gombos on Friday.
But he will have to overcome two home players if he is to retain his crown. The 21-year-old Australian fired down 15 aces and lost just six points on serve in a ruthless display that lasted less than an hour.
In Saturday’s semi-final he will face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who thumped compatriot Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-1. And if the third seed wins that, Kyrgios will also face a Frenchman in the final.
“I thought I served and returned really well today,” said Kyrgios. “All that matters is that I’m going out there and playing every point hard.
“I think I’m pretty aggressive on my returns, particularly here where I’m trying to get in the first big hit.” Second seed Tsonga came through a quarter-final between two twice former winners thanks to converting four of seven break points.
The 31-year-old, on a seven-match winning streak, is bidding to win a second tournament in successive weeks after triumphing in Rotterdam last week. Sixth seed Richard Gasquet overcame top seed Gael Monfils in an all-French quarter-final 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 6-2.
He will play another compatriot next in fourth seed Lucas Pouille on Saturday after the latter defeated Russian Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.