Best Matches of The Year – Richard Gasquet d. Roger Federer, Rome 3rd RD

Richard Gasquet

Richard Gasquet showed great flair and guts as he ended an eight-match losing run against Roger Federer, rallying from a set and 2-4 down to prevail in their highly entertaining third-round contest at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia that featured two of the most watchable single-handed backhands in the game.

The Frenchman was staring down the barrel of a ninth defeat in 10 meetings with Federer, but exhibited superb reflexes at the net to claw his way back into contention in the second set at 4-4. He levelled the match with a dominant display in the second set tie-break, hurting Federer with a range of groundstroke winners, and again held his nerve in the third-set decider to clinch victory in two hours and 19 minutes. It was Federer’s earliest defeat at a tour-level event since falling to Ernests Gulbis in the Rome second round a year earlier.

“I [played] a very good match for sure and as you can imagine I am very happy to beat Roger,” said Gasquet, who went on to beat World No. 7 Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals before falling to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. “This does not happen many times, so I have to enjoy it. His forehand is very fast and the court today was very fast and [it was] very difficult conditions, but I tried to play good as I had nothing to lose and this is very important. I cannot play my game [under] a lot of pressure.”

Federer was left to rue the advantage he had let slip, lamenting, “I had multiple chances [to win]. That is how it goes. Sometimes it is unfortunate because I was playing well and then it didn’t happen at all any more so it was a disappointing end to the match.”

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