Richard Gasquet moved into his third semi-final of the season as the top seed defeated Slovak Martin Klizan 6-3 6-4 at the ATP-WTA Eastbourne International on Thursday.
The world number 14 will be playing in a final four outside of his native France for the first time in 2014 as he prepares for next week’s Wimbledon championship after missing nearly two months and the entire clay season prior to Roland Garros with a back injury.
In the women’s draw at Devonshire Park, Briton Heather Watson moved into the semis as second seed and 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova withdrew before their match with a thigh strain on the eve of Monday’s All England Club start.
German fifth seed Angelique Kerber, a 2012 Wimbledon semi-finalist, advanced past Ekaterina Makarova in their quarter-final 6-2 6-1.
“Nice and quick, but it was not so easy like the score said,” added the German. “I knew it would not be easy because we’ve had a lot of close matches in the past.
“I was just focusing on me, trying to be aggressive and take my chances. I think I did a good job today.”
Gasquet advanced with seven aces and two breaks of serve in 68 minutes, saving both of the break points he faced, and declared he was optimistic about his progress.
“I’m feeling better and better, I’ve had no pain since Roland Garros. But after stopping for two months, it’s always difficult to come back.
“You are questioning yourself every day on your body. I’m playing, practising every day more and more. I am practising on my physical condition. I ran a lot last week. So I’m starting to be better.
“I’m not 100 per cent on my game, but I think I’m playing better and better. I’ve won two good matches here, I served well. I could play with power. It’s a good start of the week for me.”
Gasquet next meets Uzbek Denis Istomin, who beat Eduardo Roger-Vasselin of France, 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.
He is competing in only his third tournament since April and opened on grass a week ago with a loss in Halle.
The 28-year-old won this title in 2005 and 2006 when the event was held in Nottingham.