Basel Open: Gasquet survives Karlovic ace barrage

Richard Gasquet will face either third seed Rafael Nadal or former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the Basel semi-finals on Saturday.

Richard Gasquet reacts during his quarter-final match against Ivo Karlovic.   -  AP

France's Richard Gasquet survived 32 aces from Ivo Karlovic to keep his hopes of a World Tour Finals place alive on Friday with a 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (8-6) quarter-final win at the Swiss Indoors.

Gasquet is chasing one of the last two spots remaining in the eight-player season finale in London from November 15.

But the Frenchman with the picture-book, single-handed backhand faces almost impossible odds, needing to win titles both this weekend and next week at his home Paris Masters.

Anything less will send rivals Kei Nishikori and Spain's David Ferrer to the year-end showpiece.

Ferrer and Nishikori are both injured and neither is playing this week.

The London field already includes Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych and Rafael Nadal.

Gasquet will face either third seed Nadal or former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the Basel semi-finals on Saturday.

Karlovic, 36, who beat second seed Wawrinka in the opening round, laid on his trademark serving attack, with the 11th ranked Gasquet defending in style.

The Frenchman found himself level in the third set, which went to a tiebreaker.

Gasquet saved a match point with a backhand pass down the line, then secured his own match-winning chance with a return at the feet of the two-metre-tall Karlovic.

Gasquet raised his racquet in triumph a point later as Karlovic sent a volley into the top of the net after almost two and a half hours.

Later Friday, top seed Federer was continuing his bid for a seventh home title against Belgian David Goffin in a re-run of the 2014 final won by the Swiss.

Jack Sock was taking on Donald Young in an all-American quarter-final.

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