The first three men’s quarter-finals on Wednesday were all decided in straight sets and dare I say, rather dull. The final match of the day between Stan Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet finally injected some life into the day as Gasquet produced a wonderful display to oust the French Open champion in five sets, 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-4 11-9. This match was all about that fifth set. The first four sets had their moments but to be honest, were largely forgettable. Both players gave away sets on double faults with Gasquet gifting the second set with two double faults in his final service game of the set and Wawrinka committing his only double fault of the match on set point down in the fourth set.
The fifth set featured some marvellous backhand to backhand rallies. Gasquet had his chance to close out the match at *5-3 but at 30-30, did get tight as Wawrinka came fighting back. It looked like the Frenchman may wilt under the pressure but he hung on valiantly, playing a really gutsy service game at 5-5. The one thing that really impressed me about Gasquet was his movement around the court. He moved like a gazelle and chased down everything from Wawrinka, not only moving side-to-side but up to the net. The Swiss man had a break point at 9-9 but didn’t take it. Gasquet brought up three match points at 10-9 and on the third, hit a great return forcing Wawrinka long. Remarkably, Gasquet is now 3-0 in Grand Slam quarter-finals and will contest his second semi-final at Wimbledon on Friday.
While I was chuffed for Gasquet, i’m not going to lie that my heart sank at the prospect of Gasquet against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals! The world number one passed by the challenge of Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals in straight sets, 6-4 6-4 6-4. The Croatian player had a decent showing at Wimbledon this year, advancing through back-to-back five setters in the second and third rounds. He never looked like causing an upset on Centre Court as he failed to produce even one break point on the Djokovic serve.
Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Gasquet, 11-1. The world number one has won their last nine matches with eight of them being decided in straight sets. Their last match at Roland Garros saw Djokovic win, 6-1 6-2 6-3. This is a terrible match-up for Gasquet, who will at least come into this match brimming with confidence after beating Dimitrov, Kyrgios and Wawrinka in his last three matches. I am sceptical though as to whether Gasquet believes that he can win this match-up against Djokovic. I have my fingers crossed for a competitive match but i’m not that hopeful despite Gasquet’s recent form.
Prediction: Djokovic d. Gasquet in 3 sets