Gasquet dominates Lopez to reach UTS semi-finals
Last weekend, both Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez compiled 2-0 records, meaning their match this afternoon was set to be a straight shoot-out to determine who would progress to the semi-finals. At UTS1, Gasquet finished second in the league before losing in the semi-finals to Matteo Berrettini after holding match-point, whilst Lopez finished fifth in the league, scarcely missing out on the final four. Gasquet, who holds 7-1 record over Lopez on the ATP tour, won the match 14-12 18-14 18-10 15-17.
Lopez won the first to points of the opener, but Gasquet hit back to win the next six points on the bounce and he never looked back from there. Neither player found much success with their cards but Lopez never regained his lead and Gasquet took the quarter 14-12.
There was confusion early in the second when it transpired that a point had gone “missing”, but the end result saw Lopez recover from 7-3 down to 7-7 after an effective use of his ‘Next Point x2’ card. Gasquet hung tight though, and at 11-11 he used the same card himself and improved to 15-11 with less than two minutes to play. There was no way back for the Spaniard and Gasquet took the quarter 18-14, putting himself firmly in pole position to take the match.
Visibly struggling with the heat and humidity, Lopez let out a cry of anguish after netting a backhand early in the third. Gasquet forged ahead to 8-4 and after Lopez failed to convert with the ‘Next Point x2’ card it was 10-4 and even though there were still over four minutes on the clock, there was a sense that the quarter – and the match – was over. Indeed, Gasquet did not let his foot off the gas and won the quarter 18-10 for an unassailable 3-0 lead, confirming his place in the semi-finals for a second tournament in a row. A conciliatory fourth quarter went the Spaniard’s way, 17-15.
In the group’s other match, Grigor Dimitrov beat Nicolas Mahut (replacing Alexei Popyrin) but there was little more than pride at stake as neither were capable of qualifying. Group B was poised for a day of high drama with all four men beginning the day with 1-1 records, but Benoit Paire forfeited his match against Corentin Moutet when he left the court with an injury and this gave the Frenchman a default 4-0 win, making it impossible for Dustin Brown to qualify and leaving Fernando Verdasco needing a 4-0 win of his own to give himself any chance of progressing. Verdasco won 3-2 but that was not enough and Moutet will be playing tomorrow in the semi-finals.
This evening, Alexander Zverev and Felix Auger-Aliassime will face off with the winner deciding who they play in tomorrow’s semi-finals. The women’s semi-finals will also take place, with Alize Cornet playing Brenda Fruhvirtova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova against Ons Jabeur.
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