Gasquet secures first point for France
Date: 09 février 2007 à 15:23:26 CET
Sujet: Tournaments (English)

A dominant display by Richard Gasquet gave France a 1-0 lead after the opening rubber of this Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round tie. The 20-year-old world No.16 defeated Victor Hanescu 75 62 62 in just one hour and 33 minutes.

Hanescu had not won a match on the main tour since April 2006 so was always going to be up against it in facing the precocious talent of Gasquet. However, despite his lack of match practice at the highest level following a back injury, the Romanian made an assured start. He won the opening points of the first two games with searing down-the-line backhand winners.

There were no deuces in the opening six games, which were complete in a breakneck 18 minutes. Serve continued to match serve until the eleventh game, when an overrule by umpire Mohamed Lahyani of Sweden that took Gasquet to 30-30 proved pivotal. Another close call on the following point, again in the Frenchman’s favour, gave the youngster the first break point of the match. Hanescu was momentarily incensed, but after composing himself netted a backhand to give France the first break of the tie. Gasquet comfortably held serve to clinch the opening set after 39 minutes.

The two-time Nottingham Open champion enjoyed enthusiastic support from his home crowd, not least the 150-strong band of French supporters, all clad in brilliant blue, who cheered relentlessly for the home player, including an amusing chant to the tune of “Go West” by the Pet Shop Boys.

Hanescu’s backhand had gone to the wall and it was another error on that wing that enabled Gasquet to score the first break of the second set after a lengthy third game. Showing his agility and impressive array of flashy groundstrokes, Gasquet added a further break and took a commanding two set lead.

It was more of the same in the third set with the Frenchman making occasional forays to the net and overwhelming his opponent by denying him time to settle into rallies. Despite facing 0-30 as he served for the match, Gasquet was never once broken and wrapped up a speedy victory with a mid-court backhand winner.


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