Duckworth into Nice Open quarter-finals

Australian James Duckworth has cashed in on the withdrawal of Nice Open top seed Gilles Simon to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP event for only the second time.

While more-celebrated countryman Nick Kyrgios retired from his second-round match with an elbow injury, Duckworth continued on his merry way with a 7-6 (7-0) 7-6 (7-5) victory over French lucky loser Quentin Halys.

Duckworth was due to face Simon, but the French world No.13 pulled out at the 11th hour with back pain.

Building confidence ahead of the French Open starting on Sunday, Duckworth next plays talented young Croatian Borna Coric for a semi-final spot.

Like Simon, Kyrgios was taking no chances ahead of the claycourt grand slam and stopped while trailing 4-3 on serve against Dominic Thiem of Austria.

Kyrgios, who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon last year and defeated Roger Federer on clay in Madrid this month, said his mid-match stoppage was merely a precaution.

“I expected a very tough match and I’m really sorry for Nick,” said Thiem.

“But I have to take it like this and of course I’m happy to be in the quarter-finals.”

Thiem goes on to face third-seeded defending champion Ernests Gulbis, who beat Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5 4-6 6-1.

In other matches on Wednesday, Serb Dusan Lajovic defeated Spaniard Pablo Carreno 6-3 4-6 7-5 and Argentine fourth seed Leonardo Mayer eliminated fellow Argentine Lucas Pouille 6-4 6-0.

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