Richard Gasquet defeated Spanish wild card Fernando Verdasco in three sets in the second round at the Mutua Madrid Open. The Frenchman won 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to book his spot in the third round, where he awaits the winner of Fabio Fognini and Kei Nishikori.
Late break seals opening set for Gasquet
Gasquet and Verdasco held their opening service games to start the match. In the upcoming game, Verdasco struggled to hold his serve, being pushed to 30-all before holding to go 2-1 up. Both players continued to hold their service games comfortably and with no breaks of serve so far, Gasquet fought to create the first of the set at 4-4, 30-40.
The Frenchman took his chance and broke at the first time of asking to break the deadlock and give himself a chance to close out the set. After 38 minutes, the world number 12 sealed the opening set 6-4 against the wildcard, who hails from the Spanish capital.
Verdasco fights back to level
The second set started the same way as the first, with both holding serve. The next four games would see both players hold their serve quite comfortably, not allowing one another to push ahead. However, in the fifth game, the first break point went the way of Gasquet at advantage, but the Spaniard erased that point and held his serve in the longest game of the match so far.
In the following game, Verdasco would have his first break of the match and at 15-40, Verdasco took his chance to go 2-5 up and a chance to level the match. With Gasquet holding for 3-5, the 10th seed would force 32-year old from Madrid to serve it out. The Spaniard answered and clinched the set 3-6 and forced the decider.
Gasquet races away to book spot in third round
The 29-year old got off to a flyer in the deciding set. Having held his opening service game to love, he would then have a break point at 15-40, which he put away to go 2-0 up on Verdasco. Having only lost one point thus far, Gasquet raced away to 40-love and eased to a 3-0 lead. With the match becoming very one-sided, Verdasco was looking to win his first game of the set.
The man from France would break again at advantage for a 4-0 lead and would have 100 percent from breaks in this set. Gasquet consolidated once more and was just a game away from a place in the next round. Verdasco finally got on the board in the deciding set, but that would be the only game he got as Gasquet closed out the set 6-1 on his first match point and having had to battle to save two break points earlier on.
Gasquet served four aces and no double faults, while Verdasco served three aces and one double fault. The Frenchman won 79 percent of his first serve points, while Verdasco served only 69 percent. Both players struggled on their second serve, winning only 48 percent of points. The 29-year old saved three of four break points giving him to give himself 67 percent, while Verdasco struggled saving only one from four (25 percent).
Richard Gasquet broke 75 percent of the time, while Verdasco could only break the Frenchman once, giving him 33 percent. Both players struggled on return, with Gaquet returning 31 percent, while Verdasco only 21 percent. Both players improved increasingly on their second, with a 52 percent return points won. Gasquet won 53 percent total points and Verdasco 47 percent.