Tennis Prose




Jan/23

14

Champion Gasquet Reigns Supreme Again

By Scoop Malinowski

Richard Gasquet has won sixteen ATP singles titles in his pro tennis career but today’s title in Auckland surprised even himself. Gasquet somehow found a way to dig out of a 0-3, love-40 deficit to defeat Cam Norrie 46 64 64.

Gasquet had last won an ATP title in 2018. The 36 year old was ranked 67 entering Auckland, after losing first round in Adelaide last week to American Marcos Giron 67 76 57.

“I didn’t think I would win the title,” Gasquet said after capturing only his second hard court title in his ATP career – in his debut appearance in Auckland. “Last time I won was in 2018 (on grass in s’Hertogenbosch). I’m 37 this year, so when I came here last week, if you were to tell me next Saturday you will win here, I wouldn’t believe it. It’s incredible, especially [after falling behind in the third set] 3-0, love-40 for him. It’s an incredible match for me.”

Wearing white shorts, a yellow shirt and white backward ball cap, the veteran performed some of the best tennis maybe of his life. Grinding in long rallies with the world no. 12 Norrie, Gasquet shook his head in muted, modest surprise at some of his successful winners. Norrie’s match record in 2023 had been a perfect 6-0 before the final loss to Gasquet.

2022 was a poor year for Gasquet. His ranking dropped to 91 in the world in August and he had to play a half dozen Challenger tournaments. In October he lost 62 75 to world no. 487 Jurgen Briand in Mouilleron Le Captif.

But Gasquet’s career is back on track and he’s in the kind of form that could do damage in Melbourne where last year he beat Ugo Humbert in four sets before falling in the second round to Botic van de Zandschulp 64 06 04 ret. (Gasquet played Montpellier the following week and beat Humbert again, Soonwoo Kwon before losing to Mikael Ymer 57 76 16.)

At the 2023 AO Gasquet, who has earned over $19m in his career, will play Humbert again, who he has beaten both times they played in the ATP (both in 2022). In the second round Gasquet would face the winner of Nick Kyrgios vs Roman Safiullin.

“Now of course I have nothing to lose in Melbourne,” said Gasquet, who will be ranked no. 42 on Monday.

My Biofile interview with Richard Gasquet

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7 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 14, 2023 at 11:28 am

    Hi Steve C, awaiting your comments on this very important win by Gasquet 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 14, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    Lucky loser Soonwoo Kwon won his second ATP career title in Adelaide by beating two-time former winner and No. 4 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 3-6 7-6(4). Kwon had lost in qualies to Tomas Machac and then LLed into main draw and beat Machac, Busta, M Ymer, Draper and finally Agut. Cecchinato was the last ATP winner from LL in 2018.

  • Steve · January 16, 2023 at 9:34 am

    LOL All I can say is Backwards Hat Gasquet is just a beautiful player to watch. When the hat is worn backwards magic often follows. We all know about his racquet skills but to see Ritchie at this age also grind out long points against a physical beast like Norrie is very inspiring.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 16, 2023 at 10:47 am

    Steve, one of Gasquet’s best wins. He won five games in a row in the third set to vanquish Norrie, who was 6-0 this year. Absolute magic by Gasquet and totally unexpected. Now the draw opens up with Kyrgios out, should beat Humbert again. Suddenly Gasquet is the highest ranked French player. It would not be a total shock if Gasquet suddenly finally puts all the pieces together and fulfills the potential he showed at 15 when he beat Franco Squillari in Monte Carlo.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 16, 2023 at 10:48 am

    If he gets to the semis I will write a feature Facing Gasquet 🙂

  • Steve · January 16, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    Get your pencils sharpened and oil the type-writer. 🙂

    Sad to see Musetti bounced already but Lloyd Harris is another player with top tier potential…the young South African has fluid, easy power.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 16, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    Musetti and Harris are just two of many players who have shown giant potential. But that’s one of the cruelties of pro tennis – so many great players never get to the mountain top – Dimitrov, Berdych, Ferrer, Rios, Gasquet, etc.

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