French Open: Richard Gasquet into quarterfinal after splendid display against Kei Nishikori

French Open: Richard Gasquet into quarterfinal after splendid display against Kei Nishikori

Richard Gasquet booked his spot in the quarterfinals for the first time defeating Kei Nishikori in four sets at Roland Garros.

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At Roland Garros on court Philippe Chatrier, Richard Gasquet made a personal milestone by booking  his spot in the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win over Japanese Kei Nishikori. Up next is Andy Murray for the Frenchman,

Gasquet gets late break, wins set following rain delay

Both players got the match underway with holds to love. The third game, however, would see the first break of the set, going the way of Gasquet following a double fault. Despite having one saved, Gasquet broke for a 2-0 lead. The upcoming game and the Frenchman would surrender the break, having saved three from love-40 down. Nishikori consolidated his break and went ahead for the very first time. The Japanese took advantage of a poor Gasquet and broke him again for a 4-2 lead.

Kei Nishikori gears up to hit a backhand shot (Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
Kei Nishikori gears up to hit a backhand shot (Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

With the rain falling hard, the players were then both forced off the court at 40-40 in the seventh game. Following a 50-minute rain delay, Gasquet came back out more determined, focused and was even hitting the ball more aggressively than earlier on. The Frenchman was to win the next two points and break, which was then followed by a hold of serve for 5-4. In the upcoming game, Gasquet then continued this positive  start by breaking the Japanese and serving it out for a 6-4 lead. 

Dominant Gasquet takes a two sets lead

The Frenchman's momentum continued into the second set. He was to be patient in the opening game, pushing Nishikori to deuce on two occasions before getting his first break point of the game and converting. The 29-year-old consolidated the break and went 2-0 up early in the second. As the set continued, the Japanese was continually being frustrated by the backhands and aggressive play from the ninth seed. The fifth game was to be the most vital of the set, with Gasquet getting a break point 30-40.

The world number six erased the point, forcing the error from the reliable backhand side from Gasquet. Although he saved the point, Gasquet wasn't to be denied and quickly fashioned another break point, this time taking advantage and going 4-1 up. Two games later and Gasquet would be serving for a two sets lead. The Frenchman quickly raced away to llove-40 and took the second set 6-2, which brought a huge roar from the packed out crowd. 

Late break seals third set for Nishikori

The third set was more tight and tense from the Frenchman as he looked to close in on a historic win. Both held serve at the start of the set and the only break point of the set came in the third game at 30-40 in favor of Gasquet. The former US Open finalist hit a drop shot winner and saved the point before going on to hold for 2-1. With nothing to split the two players, Nishikori was growing in confidence by the minute and with the set coming to a close, at 4-5, Nishikori took the only break and stole the set 4-6. 

Gasquet wins match, creates personal milestone

The Frenchman is usually known for fading away when having big leads, however, this was a different story. The opening game would be big for the three-time Grand Slam semifinalist as he hit a forehand winner to break his opponent in the first game at the second time of asking. He held and consolidated the break as the set moved to 2-0. With the score at 3-1, Gasquet forced the error from the Japanese who dragged a forehand wide to set up a break point for the ninth seed.

Richard Gasquet hitting a backhand shot (Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
Richard Gasquet hitting a backhand shot (Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

He would go on to break which was followed by a mass of noise. As the set wore on, the crowd were getting louder and louder, which spurred the Frenchman on and after two hours 37 minutes, it would be Gasquet serving for the match. Having lost in the fourth round in the last four years, Gasquet would hold his serve to love and book his spot in the quarterfinals for the first time in his career. 

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