Fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain moved closer to his first Masters title after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-2, 7-5 in the Paris Masters quarter-finals on Friday, while Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz continued his remarkable run by eliminating No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic.
Ferrer did not face a single breakpoint against Tsonga, the 2008 champion, breaking him three times in the match. The sixth-seeded Tsonga saved two match points before hitting a loose forehand wide.
"I think he was just too good. I didn't bring my best tennis on court today," Tsonga said. "I wasn't able to be aggressive on my returns, and when you're not against a player like him, you have no chance."
Ferrer's semifinal opponent will be Frenchman Michael Llodra, who beat big-serving American Sam Querrey 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Llodra thinks that Ferrer, who won their two previous meetings — on hard courts — is under more pressure.
"Well, if you see the draw, he is now the favourite. But anything can happen," Llodra said. "His coach must think, you know, if you don't take this particular opportunity, it will be a shame."
Earlier, Janowicz was leading 3-6, 6-1, 4-1 against eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic when the Serbian retired.
Janowicz saved one match point in his third-round win against Britain's Andy Murray on Thursday and had broken Tipsarevic for the second time in the third set when the Serb called for a trainer.
Tipsarevic continued for a few moments more, and Janowicz was 40-0 up on his serve when Tipsarevic waved his racket to indicate he was stopping, drawing jeers from the crowd at the Bercy indoor arena.
There were huge cheers for the 21-year-old Janowicz.
"It's really not easy for me to realize actually what is going on in my life right now," Janowicz said. "I did something magical. I just played really like I can put every single ball in, and I'm in semifinal ... my family was crying after yesterday's match and after today's match."
Organizers said that Tipsarevic, who qualified on Thursday for the season-ending World Tour Finals in London next week, started feeling fatigued at the end of the first set.
"I didn't realize there is something wrong with him," Janowicz said. "He was basically playing the same tennis like in the first set ... maybe he was dizzy or had headache or whatever."
The 69th-ranked Janowicz faces Gilles Simon, who is also unseeded, in the semifinals. The Frenchman earlier beat fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4.
"I will play against French guy, but mentally I'm a really tough guy," Janowicz said. "I remember in my match against Andy Murray in Great Britain during Davis Cup three years ago, whole crowd was against me, over 5,000 people. I didn't really care."
Janowicz explained that his fighting spirit partly comes from a difficult childhood.
"I was bad boy at the school. High school I was fighting with everyone, with teachers. I was really bad guy," he said. "It's really not easy for me to explain why I'm that kind of guy, why, for example, yesterday I played against Andy Murray and I didn't feel pressure at all."
Janowicz, who was playing in Futures tournaments at the start of the year and is still struggling for sponsorship back home, has beaten four players ranked in the top 20 on his way to the last four — Philipp Kohlschreiber (19) Marin Cilic (15), Murray (3) and now Tipsarevic (9). Simon is ranked 20th.
"Maybe because of this win I will get some bigger sponsor," Janowicz said, adding that he has been on every Polish television channel since beating Murray. "This year I didn't go to Australian Open because I just didn't have money."
He slept little after the Murray win, and expects to be up until the early hours again following his latest upset win.
"I just went to sleep at 5:00 [on Friday morning]," Janowicz said. "It doesn't matter if I sleep. I don't eat. Right now I'm playing best tennis of my life."
Picking up his form
Janowicz picked up his form in the second set, breaking Tipsarevic twice. The 21-year-old did not face a single breakpoint, and held to love on his service game to level the match.
Tipsarevic double-faulted twice in losing the third game of the third set and Janowicz then held to love with an ace on his second serve to open up a 3-1 lead. He broke Tipsarevic again with a booming forehand winner for 4-1.
At the changeover, Tipsarevic appeared to complain of feeling dizzy and stuck out his tongue while a trainer checked his throat.
Llodra clinched the first set — where both players had seven aces and faced no breakpoint chances — when Querrey's two-handed backhand went out.
Querrey missed his chance when he squandered five break points in the seventh game of the second set. Llodra held for 5-2 and clinched victory on his next service game.
Simon, meanwhile, fought back from 4-1 down in the second set to reach the last four here for the first time.