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Tennis: 1000 matches and 10 notable encounters by Richard Gasquet

Gasquet stands out as the first French player in history to reach such a total on the circuit.

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Tennis: 1000 matches and 10 notable encounters by Richard Gasquet

Gasquet stands out as the first French player in history to reach such a total on the circuit. In history, only sixteen have played 1,000 career matches. Top 10 for more than 150 weeks, 7th in the world in 2007, three times Grand Slam semi-finalist (Wimbledon 2007 and 2015, US Open 2013), 3rd most successful Frenchman in history with 16 titles, the native of Sérignan remains guided and animated by the pleasure of the game. Out of these 1000 matches we have chosen 10 particularly striking ones.

On the Monte-Carlo Central against the Argentinian Franco Squillari, then 54th in the world and semi-finalist of the 2000 edition of Roland-Garros, the Biterrois competed and won at 15 years and 10 months, the first match of his career on the main circuit. He then became the youngest player to win a Masters 1000 match.

The only victory of his career against a world number one, already with four Grand Slam titles. A great match against Federer then at the top of his art. A major achievement for a Gasquet, not yet 19 years old, who was still ranked 101st in the world. The great French hope saved three match points and won 10-8 in the tie-break of the third set, on a final backhand passing along an anthology line.

On the day of celebrating his 19th birthday, Gasquet gave himself a nice gift with the first title of his career after a success against the Belarusian Max Mirnyl which did not spoil the party. The public sings a “happy birthday to you” to greet the premiere of the young French hopeful.

Probably his most notable feat in a Grand Slam, facing a former double finalist of the tournament and being down two sets to nothing and 4-2 in the 3rd set. With his cap screwed on his head, the Frenchie multiplies his backhand passes and asphyxiates his opponent with 64 winning shots for only 16 unforced errors. He manages to steal the American's serve in the 13th game of the fifth set. The magic will not work in the next round against Roger Federer, future winner of the tournament, winner 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

A coronation with a special dimension after three years without a title, injuries and a positive test for cocaine (2009). The Frenchman then plunged in the rankings until his rebirth on the Côte d'Azur. Trailing 4-1 in the 3rd set, the Biterrois was able to find the resources to win and regain the forefront after months of wandering.

An epic match from start to finish and a defeat that hurts. The ninth player in the world gave up his place in the quarter-finals of the French Open in five sets to the Swiss after winning the first two (7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 5-7, 6-8) after more of four hours of combat (4h15). For the fifteenth time in sixteen occasions, the Frenchman is stopped at the stage of the round of 16 of a Grand Slam and the third time in a row at Roland-Garros.

Six years later, Richard Gasquet returned to the final four in a Grand Slam by signing a second consecutive victory in five sets after that against Raonic after a huge 4h40 fight. A first in his career. The Biterrois dominates the Spaniard David Ferrer against whom he had eight defeats in nine meetings. “I started really well, the backhand worked amazing. I felt like I was having a good day.” Physically, Gasquet has never been as solid as that day. Like in a dream. But against his nemesis Nadal (18 defeats in 18 matches), Gasquet suddenly fell back to earth in the semi-final.

Winner at the end of the suspense of Stan Wawrinka in a marathon match of 3h28, the 20th in the world won one of the most beautiful victories of his career that day at the end of an exciting fifth set. Gasquet finds himself eight years after the Wimbledon semi-finals. He achieved the immense performance of knocking down the 4 seed and recent winner of Roland-Garros, after being down two sets to one. This lion-hearted Richard will fall with honors in the next round against Novak Djokovic.

The Swiss assured during the 2015 Australian Open, that he almost gave up due to back pain during his decisive match against Gasquet in the Davis Cup final at the end of November 2014. And yet in this decisive match of Switzerland-France, he never seemed to suffer on the field (6-4, 6-2, 6-2). Overwhelmed by the pace imposed by the Swiss, Gasquet suffered one of the biggest disappointments of his career. “Having taken a beating from start to finish, not having been able to give a little emotion to the 27,000 people who were in the stadium, it affected me a lot,” he confided in his autobiography published in 2022 A reverse and against everything.

Trailing a zero set, then 4-1 in the third act, the Biterrois overthrew Cameron Norrie, 12th in the world, in the final of the Auckland tournament (4-6, 6-4, 6-4) in 2 hours 26 minutes. last time I won (a tournament) was in 2018 (in 's-Hertogenbosch on grass, Editor's note). I will be 37 this year, and if someone had told me when I arrived here last week that I would win the following Saturday, I would not have believed it. In the final against Norrie, he almost regained his 20-year-old legs. Retirement will wait. Thanks to this surprise coronation in Auckland, he once again became French number 1 in the ATP rankings with 42nd place, a leadership position that he had not regained since July 10, 2016.

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