In the first round at the Australian Open, 18th-seeded Richard Gasquet defeated Grand Slam débutant Blake Mott 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on Court 8. The Frenchman will play Argentine Carlos Berlocq in the next round.
Grabs early lone break, wins set
Making his Grand Slam debut, Mott was immediately put under pressure by Gasquet who gained an early break point opportunity at 30-40. The Australian managed to bring the game to deuce but conceded a second break point and fell behind early. The Frenchman consolidated serve to love to take a 2-0 lead.
The 19-year-old had a chance in the sixth game to put Gasquet under pressure, taking him to deuce, however, the more experienced player came through for 4-2. Now serving for the set at 5-4, the Frenchman forced Mott to play an extra forehand which went wide and a set point arrived at love-40. He won the next point and with that, the set, 6-4.
Mott troubles Gasquet loses set
Struggling to cope with the power and presence of the Frenchman, Mott served up a double-fault and was immediately faced double break points. A forehand winner down the line denied Gasquet the first time around, but he missed the exact same shot on the next point to go down a break. The world number 18 then came from love-30 on his own serve behind to consolidate the break for a 2-0 lead. Mott calmed his nerves and held serve to love to get on the scoreboard. Mott never gave up the fight, pushing Gasquet to deuce.
He then earned a break point when a backhand sailed long. The teenager struck back with a backhand winner down the line for 2-2. An impressive hold saw Mott go 2-3 ahead. Just a couple games later, Mott sent a forehand long which allowed the Frenchman to have two break points. The 30-year-old smashed a backhand winner down the line to break for 5-4 and serve for the set. An unforced error presented Gasquet with a set point. Mott failed to play a forehand back into court and the Frenchman went two sets up, 6-4.
Gasquet runs away with the third set, advances into round two
Gasquet started pushing on even further in the third set, bringing up three break points early. Mott hit a running forehand wide and the Frenchman broke before going on to hold for 2-0. Struggling to cope with Gasquet in the third set, a second break point arrived for the 18th seed in the third game at 30-40, but a forehand winner brought the game to deuce as a break point was saved for the time being. The Frenchman got a bit of luck on the next point with a shot clipping the net and bouncing over as another break point arrived.
Gasquet forced the error and broke the Australian for 3-0. He then went on to consolidate for 4-0 with a backhand winner as the Australian's debut was coming to an end. Mott eventually got on the scoreboard in the fifth game to avoid the bagel. Next two games were held and the Frenchman served for a place in the second round. He ran away to a love-40 lead, hitting a forehand winner. The world number 287 went down with a fight, saving two match points but Gasquet clinched the match and progressed safely into the second round.