ATP Montpellier: Richard Gasquet defeats Malek Jaziri in straight sets

The Open Sud de France saw two-time defending champion Richard Gasquet defeat Malek Jaziri 7-5, 6-2 to progress to the quarterfinals, where he will face fellow countryman Kenny De Schepper

Gasquet wins opening set after being pegged back

Gasquet made a strong start to the match, bringing up triple break backs when Jaziri netted a forehand. An unforced error in the very next point allowed the three-time champion to break. The Frenchman consolidated comfortably for 2-0 with great serving down the middle. The Tunisian continued making simple errors and allowing his opponent to attack, which led to Gasquet to bringing up double break points in the fifth game.

Jaziri played the forehand and wrong-footed Gasquet to save the first break point. However, he went down 4-1 when the Frenchman attacked his weak backhand shot. The 33-year-old then stepped up his game and a glimmer of hope went his way when a backhand winner made it love-40.

Richard Gasquet strikes a forehand (Phoito: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Richard Gasquet strikes a forehand (Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

The 29-year-old could only save one break as Jaziri hit a wonderful forehand winner down the line before consolidating for 4-3. It was the Frenchman's turn to produce the errors as more flowed in the very next game with Jaziri bringing up a break point at 30-40. A shank backhand from Gasquet allowed his opponent to break back and draw level at 4-4.

However, just a couple games later, the Tunisian began getting erratic once more and Gasquet took a love-40 lead. Jaziri smashed a forehand wide to concede the break and give Gasquet the chance to close the set out at 6-5. Which he did, going up 40-15, then serving down the middle to claim the set, 7-5. 

Gasquet runs away with the set, books spot in quarterfinals

With momentum on his side, Gasquet took the game to deuce before gaining a break point. An unforced error from the world number 50 handed the break to Gasquet, who then consolidated and took an early 2-0 lead. More break points went the way of the Frenchman, attacking Jaziri who played a poor dropshot. Good serving and a forehand winner got Jaziri on the board at 2-1. Still plugging away, Jaziri earned a break point at 30-40. Gasquet managed to save the break point by hitting the ace but faced a second break point just moments later with his opponent attacking and coming to the net to finish the point with a volley.

Richard Gasquet returns a shot (Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Richard Gasquet returns a shot (Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

More good serving let Gasquet off the hook as he sent the game to deuce once more. In the longest game of the match, the Frenchman would be forced to save two more break points as he eventually held serve to go 4-2 up. Having saved a number of break points, it was his turn to gain one at advantage hitting a great return. Jaziri double-faulted and gifted Gasquet the game and the match as he ran away to a love-40 lead then finished off the match with the Tunisian hitting an unforced error.