Richard Gasquet joined the elite company on Wednesday in Stuttgart at the BOSS Open. By battling past World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (8), 2-6, 7-5, he became only the fourth active player to reach the 600-win milestone on the ATP Tour. The other 3 names in that group? Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal.
Gasquet has fond tennis memories in Stuttgart including playing for France in the 2011 Davis Cup Quarterfinals. He channeled these good feelings into his game today.
This was a vintage performance from the soon-to-be 37-year-old Gasquet. When the top seed Greek raced out to an early 3-0 lead, it looked like the Frenchman might not have it on this day. However, he immediately responded by winning the next 4 games to set the tone for what would be a seesaw affair.
Veteran Richard Gasquet defeats Tsitsipas at BOSS Open
Neither player could get a firm hold of the opening set, as it inched towards the inevitable tiebreak. Richard Gasquet’s backhand was in prime form and the shot-making from both men, picked up as the points got more important. At his age, Gasquet knew the importance of taking the first set, which he was able to do in a hard-fought breaker.
Tsitsipas once again raced out to a big lead, taking control of the 2nd set 4-0. It was pretty much academic at that point as the crowd in attendance anticipated the arrival of a deciding set.
The 3rd set was an exhibition of grass court tennis at the highest level. Both men served beautifully, especially the Greek who finished the match with 19 aces to only 4 doubles. Gasquet only put through 5 aces to 6 double faults, but his resilience and timely serving were key.
There were no breaks of serve in the 3rd set when Tsitsipas stepped to the line serving at 5-6. However, his 1st serve abandoned him and Gasquet quickly had a 15-40 lead and two match points. The No. 1 seed powered an ace and another unreturnable serve to erase those chances.
This did not dissuade the long-time tour veteran, as he continued to push and press. His backhands down the line were proving difficult for Tsitsipas who is not fully comfortable moving on the grass.
Finally, on his 5th match point, Gasquet forced a wild forehand from his opponent that landed somewhere in the 3rd row. The Frenchman had done it, not only getting his first Top 10 win in over a year but joining the exclusive 600-win club.
Both players raised their game, but in the end, the wily veteran outlasted the hotshot new-age star. Richard Gasquet moves on to the quarterfinals where he will face the German Jan-Lennard Struff. Based on this match, you have to make the former World No. 7 the favorite.