Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 18th-seeded Ernests Gulbis were a pair of quarterfinal winners Tuesday at the 2014 French Open.
The second-seeded Djokovic took care of eighth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, while the talented Latvian Gulbis upset sixth-seeded Czech star and former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on the famed red clay at Roland Garros.
Raonic trailed 5-1 in the final set against Djokovic before mounting a comeback of sorts to pull within 5-4, but the Serbian stalwart proved to be too much on Day 10 of the fortnight. Djokovic also beat Raonic in a semifinal in Rome three weeks ago.
Djokovic and Gulbis, who upset Roger Federer in the round of 16, will do battle in the semifinals on Friday. It will mark Gulbis' first career Grand Slam semi. Djokovic will appear in his sixth career French Open final four (1-4) and is 4-1 lifetime versus Gulbis.
The six-time major champion Djokovic was the French Open runner-up two years ago and still needs this title to complete a career Grand Slam. And if he wins the championship this week he would also reclaim the No. 1 ranking.
The 27-year-old Djokovic is now a 22-time Grand Slam semifinalist.
The 25-year-old Gulbis, who improved to 3-4 lifetime against Berdych, is currently riding a nine-match winning streak and already owns a pair of titles in France this season, including one in Nice just one day before the French Open commenced. He's 13-0 on French soil for the year.
"It's very special," Gulbis said in an on-court interview. "Today was the best match of the tournament. I did everything well."
Gulbis has not lost to a seeded player at a Grand Slam event since the 2010 Australian Open, compiling a 5-0 mark.
Two more quarterfinals will be staged on Wednesday, when current world No. 1 Rafael Nadal takes on fifth-seeded fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and seventh- seeded Wimbledon champion Andy Murray meets 23rd-seeded French crowd favorite Gael Monfils. The 13-time Grand Slam winner Nadal captured a fourth straight French Open title and eighth overall championship here a year ago by besting Ferrer in the final.
Nadal, who turned 28 on Tuesday, is 21-6 lifetime against the 32-year-old Ferrer, including 3-0 at Roland Garros. Ferrer, however, upset Nadal on clay in Monte Carlo back in April.
The amazing Nadal is trying to become the first man to capture five straight French Open championships.