MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Gilles Simon advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals Monday when fellow Frenchman and longtime friend Gael Monfils retired after three sets.
Sixth-seeded Simon was leading 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 when No. 12 Monfils withdrew with what appeared to be an injured right hand or arm.
Monfils, a semifinalist at the French Open last year, had treatment in the previous set and, after going to the baseline after the change of ends, walked to the net and told Simon he could not continue.
The pair hugged at the net and kissed each other's cheek. Despite being close in age -- Simon is 24, Monfils is 22 -- it was their first match at tour level.
"It's very hard, because we're very close," Simon said in an on-court interview. "I didn't want to win like this. Sorry everybody, that's not the way you want to win."
Simon, into the second week of a major for the first time, next plays top-ranked Rafael Nadal or 2007 Australian Open runner-up Fernando Gonzalez.
"The last time against Rafa it was good for me," he said of his October victory over Nadal in the Madrid semifinals. But "he beat me here in three sets last year.
"If it's him, it's going to be hard. If it's Fernando, it's going to be the same."
In Monday's opening women's match, Carla Suarez Navarro reached the quarterfinals after a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 21 Anabel Medina Garrigues in an all-Spanish match.
Suarez Navarro, who had an upset win over seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in the second round, next plays Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva.
Saurez Navarro went through qualifying at the French Open last year and made the quarterfinals in her Grand Slam debut.
Dementieva had a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova to reach the quarterfinals at Melbourne for the first time in 11 years.
The fourth-seeded Dementieva, who won two titles coming into the season's first major, extended her winning streak to 14 matches.
A finalist at the French and U.S. Opens in 2004, she was ousted in the quarterfinals at the French last year and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.