Richard Gasquet lost in the first round of TMS Hamburg to Kristof Vliegen 6-4, 6-2.
In his first clay court match of the year, Richard, who has been side lined from the tour with an abdominal injury, was hampered by his lack of match practice.
Watched by Gael Monfils and his coach, Richard took an early break in the match as he rallied hard and chased down a drop shot for a 2-0 lead. His advantage was to be short lived though as Vliegen broke back immediately and then applied the pressure to take another break off the Frenchman.
Richard was cheered on by his fan club, with all sorts of chants and colourful banners. Two backhand winners and a delicate volley saw Richard level the match at 4-4. Richard continued to struggle on his own serve though, and Vliegen again broke through and followed up by successfully serving himself a one set lead.
As with the first set, the second set too opened with a long service game, with Gasquet having to fight hard to hold serve. This, he eventually did, but some aggressive play by Vliegen saw him break Gasquet in his next service game for a 2-1 lead. Richard survived another dramatic game at 3-1, which saw several deuces, but as the match progressed more errors began to flow from the Frenchman's racquet and Vliegen grabbed another break at 4-2. Vliegen, whose level of play had been very high throughout the match served out the match convincingly with an ace.
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