Gael Monfils was playing his cards close to his chest after setting up a semi-final clash with reigning champion Ivo Karlovic at the Slazenger Open in Nottingham.
The eighth seed, who reached the last four at the French Open earlier this month, beat American qualifier Vince Spadea 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 yesterday while Karlovic saw off Andreas Seppi 6-3 3-6 6-4.
The giant Croatian was not at his best but still fired down 19 aces to beat the Italian seventh seed.
Monfils won their only previous meeting in Monte Carlo two months ago but that was on clay, Karlovic’s least favourite surface.
The Frenchman simply shrugged at the prospect of facing the 29-year-old, and said: “For sure it will be tough but I’m not thinking about it for now.”
Monfils looked to have the opening set under control when he broke Spadea but the American hit back and was two points from taking the set at 6-5 only for his 21-year-old opponent to come good in the tie-break.
The second set was much more straightforward for Monfils, who broke the Spadea serve twice as the 33-year-old went for broke.Third seed Fernando Verdasco survived a topsy-turvy struggle with Gilles Simon to join Karlovic and Monfils in the last four.
The Spaniard was on top form in the first set and then recovered from a second-set slump to triumph 6-3 2-6 6-3.