Gilles Simon, playing his first tournament since a neck injury forced him to quit a match against Roger Federer last month, lost to Italy's Potito Starace 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 Friday in the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix Hassan II.
Also advancing to the semifinals of this clay-court tuneup for the French Open were top-seeded Albert Montanes and Pablo Andujar, both of Spain, and eighth-seeded Victor Hanescu of Romania.
Simon, seeded third, served four double-faults and was broken five times. The Frenchman lost for the first time in three matches against Starace, who is seeded fifth and reached the semis for the second straight year. Starace next faces Hanescu, who rallied past qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-7 (1), 7-5, 6-2.
Simon had to retire from his quarterfinal against Federer at Key Biscayne, Fla.
Montanes defeated Fabio Fognini of Italy 7-6 (1), 6-1. He struggled on his first serve but converted three of his four break points to set up a semifinal against Andujar. Andujar beat Spain's Pere Riba 6-2, 6-2 to reach his first semifinal on the tour since losing in the final in Romania last September.