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Gasquet keeps French flag flying with win over Nishikori at Roland Garros

Published by Business Insider on Sun, 29 May 2016

Paris (AFP) - Richard Gasquet kept alive hopes of a first home win in 33 years at the French Open on Sunday, outplaying fifth seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.The 29-year-old, best known for his superb single-handed backhand drives, trailed 2-4 early in the first set, but after an hour-long rain delay, he won nine out of the next 10 games to turn the match on its head.He will next play Andy Murray for a place in the semi-finals after the second seed's straight sets win over John Isner."I started badly, but everyone helped me and it was difficult for Nishikori to play against that," he said."He re-started badly (after the rain) and that gave me confidence to play my game and go for my shots."Gasquet broke first to lead 3-1, but Nishikori had started to dominate the rallies and led 4-2 when the rain came on forcing a one hour interruption in proceedings.On the resumption, two unforced errors from Asia's top player handed Gasquet a second break of serve and he levelled at 4-4.He then grabbed a third to take the opening set 6-4 against a clearly unsettled opponent.The two had played each other eight times in the past with Gasquet winning the first six and Nishikori the last two, both earlier this month in Madrid and Rome.But it was the 29-year-old Frenchman who looked to have all the shots as the second set got underway, his shot-making causing all sorts of problems for Nishikori.Gasquet made it six games in a row by breaking Nishikori to start the second set and then holding his own.That proved to be all he needed to take a two sets to love lead against an opponent whose spiralling unforced errors total was way out of character.Nishikori kept it tighter in the third set and this time it was Gasquet who lost his way in a wayward 10th game that opened the door for the Japanese player.Gasquet closed it right away though with a break to open the fourth and when he went 4-1 up with a second break, it was all but over.The last French winner of the men's singles title at Roland Garros was Yannick Noah in 1983, with just one home player -- Henri Leconte in 1988 -- reaching the final since then.Join the conversation about this story
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