Gasquet reaches Halle quarters

Second-seeded Richard Gasquet swept past Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open.

Sixth-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber joined Gasquet in the last eight by beating German compatriot Tobias Kamke 6-4, 6-3. Kohlschreiber won the Halle event in 2011. The tournament is a grass-court tune-up for Wimbledon.

Gasquet fired an ace to close out the first set and dominated the second. Down 15-40 in the final game, he won the next four points to close it out.

Kohlschreiber’s next opponent will be Mikhail Youzhny. Gasquet will play eighth-seeded Florian Mayer, who beat another Mayer, Leonardo of Argentina, 6-2, 6-3.

Florian Mayer is a German who beat Gasquet in Wimbledon last year.

”He returns very well, he doesn’t give you much space to maneuver him around the court,” Gasquet said of his next opponent.

Gasquet had a bye into the second round and said he had used the time since Sunday to practice and adjust to grass.

”It’s good to practice with good players, I really like playing on grass and it’s important to prepare for Wimbledon,” the Frenchman said. ”But this is also a big tournament in itself and I want to do well.”

Gasquet is playing in Halle for the first time in six years and said he was glad to be back.

”I have great memories, I beat Tommy Haas here in a Davis Cup match over five sets (in 2006) – one of the best matches of my career,” Gasquet said.

Haas, last year’s winner in Halle, plays Ernests Gulbis in the final match of the day.

Gasquet was pleased with his opener.

”I played very well. I served big and I returned well,” said Gasquet, who landed 88 percent of first serves. ”The grass here is faster than in England. I am glad I played that well.”