Wawrinka, Gasquet off to London
Richard Gasquet was relieved to play his match at the Paris Masters on Thursday with the pressure off after both he and Stanislas Wawrinka booked the final two spots for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next week after Milos Raonic lost to Tomas Berdych.
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Raonic was the last remaining player who could have made a late move into the line-up for the season-ending tournament, which features the top eight players of the year - minus the injured Andy Murray.
But Raonic went down 7-6 (15/13) 6-4 in the third round, meaning Swiss Wawrinka and Frenchman Gasquet will join Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro, Berdych and Roger Federer at the O2 Arena.
It will be Wawrinka's first appearance at the tournament, and the first time two Swiss players have qualified, while Gasquet's only previous appearance came six years ago.
After learning of his London qualification before stepping on court, Gasquet then made it a double celebration as he passed 50 match victories in a season for the first time in his career with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 win over Kei Nishikori.
"You can try to say you're not looking, that you will be concentrating on your own match, but I wanted to know," Gasquet said of Raonic's crucial defeat on atpworldtour.com.
"I was relieved when I knew that I was qualified, so I was not so tense for my match.
"It was more difficult for me to qualify this time than six years ago. It was tough for me to come back, and today I believe the tennis is at a very high level."
So far as the tournament in Paris is concerned, Gasquet's reward for his win over Nishikori is a quarter-final with top seed Nadal, who booked his place in the next round with a 7-5 6-4 win over the 14th-seeded Jerzy Janowicz in the late game.
Seventh seed Wawrinka kept his hopes alive by defeating Nicolas Almagro 6-3 6-2.
He will next play second seed Djokovic, who recovered from a set down to defeat John Isner 6-7 (5/7) 6-1 6-2.
Isner has caused Djokovic problems in the past, but the American did well to extend this match to three sets, with Djokovic taking four of 16 break points while Isner did not have a single chance.
Also in the last eight, Federer and Del Potro will meet for the second time in less than a week, with the Swiss looking for a first win in four matches against his rival.
Del Potro beat Federer in the final in Basle on Sunday for the second time in succession, while he also won their clash at the World Tour Finals 12 months ago.
Federer, who beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-4 in Paris, said on atpworldtour.com: "I'm happy with the way things went today from start to finish. I was able to play a consistent match, and I closed out nicely."
He added of facing Del Potro again: "I have an idea of my tactics, my game plan. Now it's important to be able to actually do it on the court.
"It's an important match for me now. I need to take my opportunities."
Del Potro had a much more difficult afternoon against in-form Grigor Dimitrov but turned the match around to win 3-6 6-3 6-4.
Third seed Ferrer defeated Gilles Simon 6-2 6-3 and will face Berdych in the quarter-finals.