ATP Miami: Richard Gasquet Wins Battle of the Breaks

Richard Gasquet met Albert Ramos-Vinolas for the fourth time in their careers on Saturday. This was the second time they have met at the Miami Open, with Gasquet winning the first meeting in 2012. The tune wasn't much different in this Masters 1000 event as the Frenchman won in straight sets to the tune of 6-4, 6-4. Long rallies consisting of groundstrokes on top of groundstrokes seemed to be a theme in this showing. That might explain why the match lasted an hour and 43 minutes.

Gasquet Holds On As Net Play Goes Extinct

Neither player seemed to be a fan of leaving the baseline, so net points became a premium. Groundstrokes, on the other hand, were the clear main attraction. Like the most important meal of the day, this set was a break-fest. Gasquet held his first serve perfectly fine, but Ramos-Vinolas struggled to hold on as he trailed 15-40 in his first service game, ending with a backhand into the net and the first break of the match. 

Source: Al Bello - Getty Images
Richard Gasquet. Source: Al Bello - Getty Images

Neither player seemed to be a fan of leaving the baseline, so net points became a premium. Groundstrokes, on the other hand, were the clear main attraction. Like the most important meal of the day, this set was a break-fest. Gasquet held his first serve perfectly fine, but Ramos-Vinolas struggled to hold on as he trailed 15-40 in his first service game, ending with a backhand into the net and the first break of the match.

The script was flipped almost immediately as the Spaniard broke the Frenchman at 30. That was followed with a hold, and the match was tied at 2-2. With neither player holding an advantage and rallies with over ten shots becoming the norm, Gasquet showed off a high one-handed backhand down the line en route to a game-15 hold.

Sticking to the theme, the 10th seed broke the lefty and held a 4-2 lead, up a break. A break-hold combination from Ramos-Vinolas once against put the set at a stalemate, 4-4. Unsurprisingly, the set was finished with a hold followed by the fifth service break of the match. The 10th-ranked ATP player took the set, 6-4.

Neither player was really dominant, as neither won more than 58% of their first serves or eclipsed 52% on first serves. That inefficiency allowed for wide open points on nearly every point, which explains the high number of breaks. Ramos-Vinolas took six break points to get his two breaks, while Gasquet needed just four chances to get his three breaks. The biggest disadvantage that the left faces was his inability to perform on his second services; he only won four points on thirteen second serves. That is far from a recipe for success.

Ramos-Vinolas Changes Shirt, Can't Change Result

After the first set, Ramos-Vinolas switched from a white shirt to a fresh navy blue one. It seemed to work for him as he grabbed a quick 0-30 lead on Gasquet's serve. The two traded points to get to 15-40 and the Frenchman faced two break points. He saved both of them, but he ultimately fell in an eight-minute game with four break points and three deuces.

Unfortunately, the new shirt magic was lost, and the 50th-ranked ATP player was broken at 15. Order was restored and Gasquet was able to hold at love. After the first set, seven straight holds seemed like a concept of the past, but that's exactly what happened as the lefty found himself down, 4-5, and serving to stay alive.

The only abnormality left with holds restored was Ramos-Vinonlas' attempt at taking a bite out of the ball like an apple in a moment of frustration. Gasquet continued his out-of-nowhere signature shot inpersonations as he hit the banana shot for a winner. Some gifted points by the Spaniard gave the Frenchman all he needed to finish the game, set and match, with a 6-4 second set victory.

After his first win in the 2016 Miami Open, Gasquet will move on to meet fellow-Frenchman Benoit Paire. Gasquet has gotten the better of Paire in their past two matchups, and he'll look to make it three in a row in the third round.

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