After bowing out in the opening round the past two years, Richard Gasquet returned to the US Open to defeat the Japanese man Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 to book his place in the second round. He will now face the Serbian Laslo Djere.
Late break seals the set for Gasquet
The Frenchman began the contest with a confident hold. But Sugita was made to work in his opening service game, holding from 30-all. This time, it was Gasquet's turn to work hard as he battled a 30-all game to sneak ahead. The 29-year-old stayed with the 26th seeded Frenchman by coming through his game much easier to make it 2-2.
Both players also held their next service games quite well with the Gasquet backhand constantly coming to good use. With Gasquet ahead in the set at 3-4, he then upped his game taking a 15-30 lead which put the world number 91 under some serious pressure.
He couldn't escape as he smashed a forehand long of the baseline to fall two break points behind. Another forehand error allowed the Frenchman to get the first break of the match to go 5-3 ahead. But Gasquet was in danger of giving up the break immediately with Sugita gaining a break back point at 30-40 following a double-fault.
The 32-year-old would save the breakpoint and go on to bring up a set point. But that was saved and a second break point arrived for Sugita, who was determined to level the match. However, another came and went for him as a second set point went to Gasquet. This time he sealed the set with an exquisite dropshot for 6-3.
Gasquet races to a two-set lead
Having won the first set, Gasquet began the second confidently by bringing up a break point straight away. A first double-fault from Sugita handed the game to the Frenchman, who went on to consolidate to make it 2-0. The Japanese man got on the board in the third game and then put Gasquet under some pressure of his own.
Having had a 15-40 lead, the Frenchman allowed Sugita a way back in as the game headed to deuce. But Gasquet survived to stay ahead at 3-1. The 29-year-old seemed to be struggling on serve and another double-fault in the set gave the former semifinalist a further break point for a double-break lead at 30-40.
He denied the world number 25 this time with a forehand winner and even had a game point but just two points later, he found himself having to save a second break point opportunity. But a forehand error following a mini error saw him go a double-break down at 4-1.
A quick, easy hold for the Frenchman gave him a 5-1 lead, putting him a game away. Still struggling to make any move in this set, Gasquet continued to punish Sugita with his backhand which allowed him to come to net and put away a volley winner to bring up set point. First time of asking, he clinched the set 6-1.
Frenchman seals the victory
Serving first in the set, Gasquet began with a hold for 1-0. Sugita followed suit for 1-1. Both players then eased through their next service games to love to make it 2-2. For the 29-year-old, he had managed to win more games than he did in the second set. Both sets of players then continued to fly through their games with the set locked at 3-3.
For the first time in five games, Gasquet allowed Sugita the two games but without any real test, he edged back out in front for 4-3. Just like he did in the opening set, the Frenchman upped his levels in the eighth game and grabbed two breakpoints with Sugita misjudging an overhead.
The world number 91 forced the error from the world number 25 to save the first breakpoint. But an unlucky net cord which landed the wrong side of the baseline gave Gasquet the game and the chance to serve for the match at 5-3.
A backhand error at 15-30 gave two match points for Gasquet. But Sugita fought back to save both match points to send the game to deuce. But again, the Frenchman brought up a match point and this time sealed the set 6-3 and the victory.