With the line up for the ATP World Tour Finals 2013 now set, I am going to take a look at the 2013 season each of the participants have had on their way to qualifying for the event. With Milos Raonic‘s loss to Tomas Berdych last night, it confirmed Richard Gasquet’s (Player Profile) place in London next week.
Grand Slam Results
Australian Open: 4R
French Open: 4R
US Open: SF
Doha 250 (Hard)
Montpellier 250 (Indoor Hard)
Moscow 250 (Indoor Hard)
Early success came for the Frenchman in the form of two titles – he overcame an inspired Nikolay Davydenko to win the Doha title in a tense three set match while picking up the first of three trophies on the year. Deep slam runs have always eluded Gasquet and it was no different in the Australian Open as yet another fourth round exit occurred – this time it would be fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga coming out on top.
The inconsistencies in Gasquet’s game were clear to see during the indoor swing. He took the title in Montpellier, defeating Benoit Paire in the final, only to see early exits in the next two tournaments to Marcos Baghdatis and Gilles Muller in Rotterdam and Marseille. He earned a split with Tomas Berdych in Indian Wells and Miami but will have been disappointed with his inability to make the final of the latter – holding a one set lead over eventual winner Andy Murray before winning just three games in the next two sets.
Disappointing clay losses to Jerzy Janowicz, Fabio Fognini and Daniel Gimeno-Traver hardly provided great momentum for him on the road to Roland Garros but it looked like he may finally get over his fourth round hump against Stanislas Wawrinka. In what was one of the matches of the tournament, Gasquet held a 2-0 set lead and looked in control of the match but nerves would eventually get the better of him as Wawrinka mounted an amazing comeback to take the match 6-7(5) 4-6 6-4 7-5 8-6.
Often, Gasquet had been up against elite opponents in the fourth round due to his ranking so to suffer a heartbreaking loss to someone he should definitely consider himself on the same level as had to be massively disappointing.
Bernard Tomic showed why he has been so highly rated by those in the sport with a top performance to knock off Gasquet at Wimbledon in four sets in the 3rd round, although Gasquet’s wastefulness on return would be something the Frenchman would rue.
Gasquet failed to defend his final points in Canada and would be a loser in the second round to eventual finalist John Isner in Cincinnati but it would finally click at Flushing Meadows. It was a fairly straight forward route to the fourth round but it looked like he would suffer the same fate as so many times before when down a break in the fifth set to the deadly Milos Raonic serve. However, he would force a comeback and avoid the lottery of a tiebreak breaking just in time for a 7-5 5th set victory.
With a 1-8 record against quarter final opponent David Ferrer, there wouldn’t have been much hope for the Frenchman but he raced into a two set lead very quickly as he looked in control of a matchup that had always looked difficult for him. As ever, Gasquet would never do it the easy way and found himself in a fifth set just as quickly but this time he would be on the right side of the result with a decisive Ferrer double fault handing over the only break of the decider.
While there was little hope for Gasquet in the semi final against eventual winner Rafael Nadal, Gasquet remained competitive and became the first player to break the serve of the Spaniard all tournament. Had he taken the second set in which he had chances, it could have been a totally different match but he would exit with a 6-4 7-6 6-2 loss.
Post-US Open has been a mix for Gasquet with Asia seeing him make two semi finals but also suffer a first round loss. He would lose to the eventual winners in Milos Raonic and Novak Djokovic in Bangkok and Beijing respectively. It looked like his Shanghai round one loss to Vasek Pospisil may damage his chances of making the season ending event but it would not be a vital result in the end.
The race for points took a turn for the better in Moscow but Gasquet would make surprisingly hard work of his title win in Moscow – needing three sets to defeat the returning Mikhail Kukushkin as well as having to comeback from a break down in the deciding set.
It has been a good year for Gasquet and the psychological boost of getting past his fourth round struggles at slams could see the Frenchman move on to further success. Moving into the top 8 for him has to be one of his main goals for the near future due to the impact it would have on his draws with the top four almost unstoppable at slams in earlier rounds.
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