ATP

Third time’s a charm: Richard Gasquet books spot in his first UTS Final

The third time’s a charm for Richard Gasquet as he advances to his first Ultimate Tennis Showdown final at UTS3. He’ll face Alex de Minaur for the title.

Richard Gasquet has been the Ultimate Tennis Showdown‘s most consistent player, dating back to UTS1 in June and July but just hasn’t been able to get over the hump. With his clinch of a UTS Finals spot, he not only became the only player to advance past the group stage in all three events, but also advanced himself to his first-ever title match trip. He’d come up painstakingly close both times before (he lost in sudden death to Matteo Berrettini in UTS1 and suffered a 3-1 defeat to Felix Auger-Aliassime in UTS2).

He started his finals-clinching campaign with a dominant 4-0 victory over Feliciano Lopez; it was his 3rd win over El Torero and his 11th overall at UTS. After sneaking away with a 16-14 first quarter win, Gasquet clutched out the win after taking the next two quarters 19-11 and 17-10. He then finished off the dead quarter with a 16-14 win, completing the shutout. Gasquet forced Lopez into 35 unforced errors for the match (including a combined 20 in Q2 and Q3).

It wasn’t all domination from the UTS veteran, however. After taking the first two quarters 18-15 and 17-14, UTS rookie Taylor Frtiz put on a dazzling array of hot shots, evening the match at 2 quarters apiece (21-12, 19-11). Gasquet ultimately proved to be clutch with a few incredible shots in sudden death, ultimately taking it after pushing Fritz too far out wide with a cross-court forehand apparoach.

Gasquet moves onto his first-ever UTS final and will face The Demon (Alex de Minaur) for the UTS3 crown. De Minaur has looked unbeatable so far in his debut; he has yet to lose a quarter in two matches. While it’s definitely a small sample size, it’s something to look out for. Gasquet did have the tougher group to work through, however. Lopez is a proven threat at UTS and Fritz is in the midst of his best-ever season so far in his young career.

The Virtuoso played a wonderful match despite the close finish. He fought off 18 aces and 33 winners from Fritz (which included a 95% first-serve percentage). Slow and steady wins the race, and Gasquet certainly proved it today.

The UTS events have become an integral part of tennis’ 2020 restart; the action-packed and fun-filled matches never cease to amaze. From banter between commentators and player during the sideline interviews to the hilarious coachinng momtns we’ve been seeing since June, it’s truly been a wonderful experience, and one that has been very well received by players. The most important part of the innovative event is that it needs to be sold by the players, and that’s exactly what’s been happening these last few months. From stars to up-and-comers, ATP to WTA, everyone who’s taken part has thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tomorrow’s final will feature The Demon (Alex de Minaur) and The Virtuoso (Richard Gasquet) as they fight for the UTS3 crown with a chance to join Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev on the mountaintop of champions.