Steve Johnson of the United States, the world's number 39, played his first round match of the Aegon Championships on Centre Court on Monday afternoon. His opponent was the fourth seed Frenchman, Richard Gasquet. The lower-ranked American started badly and lost four games in a row to go down 0-4 but he came back strong, recovered both breaks of serve and took the set in a tiebreaker, 7-6(2). In the second set, it was much easier for him and he won it 6-2 in just over half an hour. In the second round, he will face either Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain or Adrian Mannarino of France.
Johnson Clinches the First Set in a Tiebreaker
The match started a couple of hours later than scheduled due to heavy rain that also interpreted the warm up and postponed play even longer. When the match finally began, the Frenchman broke in the first game and consolidated the break to go 2-0 up. After a double fault from the American in the first point of the third game, the match was suspended due to rain. After the resumption, the fourth seed, continued where he left off and won the next two games to go a double break up and lead 4-0. The set seemed lost for the Johnson but he did not give up on it and managed to win the next three games. Gasquet held in the eighth game and the American found himself serving to stay in the first set, which he did. The fourth-seeded Frenchman served for the set at 5-4 and had a set point at 40-30 but he missed it with a forehand sent long and Johnson went on to break his serve and level the set 5-5. At 5-5 15-30 Gasquet, rain started pouring again and the match was stopped again. More than two hours later, when the match finally resumed, we saw two holds of serve and the set was to be decided in a tiebreaker; the American was too strong for Gasquet and beat him 7-2 to claim the first set.
Johnson Blasts through Gasquet in the Second Set
Johnson started the second strongly and riding on the wave of momentum after winning the first set, broke the fourth seed to love. He went on to hold his first service game of the set and go 2-0 up. Gasquet held in the third game to make it only 2-1 but lost the following three games and found himself serving to stay in the tournament at 5-1. The Frenchman succeeded to hold and made the American serve out the match; he struggled and faced a break point but he saved it with an ace and won the next two points to claim the big win over the fourth seed and he is into the second round with a 7-6(2), 6-2 win in one hour and 33 minutes.
A Look at the Final Match Statistics
Johnson was superior in almost every aspect. He had nine aces to zero from the Frenchman. He won 71 percent of the points behind his first serve and 54 percent behind his second versus only 63 and 25 for his opponent, respectively. He finished with double the amount of winners, 34 as opposed to only 17 for Gasquet and had fewer unforced errors, 14 to 16 from the Frenchman. Finally, he capitalized on four out of six break-point opportunities versus only two of eight for Gasquet.