Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Archive for gasquet

Federer vs Gasquet as it happened


Wimbledon semi-final result: R FEDERER (Swi) 1 v R GASQUET (Fra) 12

7-5 6-3 6-4


Federer 7-5 6-3 6-4 Gasquet
That’s it, all over, bosh. Gasquet snatches the first point of the game with a neat return and brings it back to 30-30, after another Federer ace, when he forces the error on the backhand. A tremendous crosscourt backhand earns Federer match point, though, and the Swiss seals the victory with a forehand winner. Apparently Novak Djokovic has been forced to pull out of his semi-final against Rafael Nadal through injury, so it’ll be a repeat of last year’s final – Federer v Nadal – Sunday, Centre Court. Jubbly.

“Federer took care of business, no more, no less.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 7-5 6-3 5-4 Gasquet
Gasquet holds with a couple of big backhands – you can’t fault his tenacity, I guess – but Federer looks poised and ready at the change of ends.

Federer 7-5 6-3 5-3 Gasquet
And the break is consolidated by the big-serving Swiss, holding to 15 with Gasquet looking like he’s sat all the way through a tense horror, only to be told by his dad that he’s too young to watch the gruesome ending. In other words, miffed but with an air of resignation… What do you mean that metaphor didn’t work? Ah come on, it’s Saturday people, give me a break…

Federer 7-5 6-3 4-3 Gasquet
A glimmer for Federer as Gasquet plays a couple of loose strokes long to help the Swiss to 30-15 up, and a forehand into the open court at the net brings R-Fed break point. Unbelievably, and yet so predictably at the same time, it’s all the invitation Federer needs as he smashes a backhand down the line for the winner. After game after game of easy points, Federer knows just when to strike and Richard has blown a Gasquet out there….sorry.

“Federer cries out because he knows that’s the match. He won’t be broken here and this could be over pretty soon.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 7-5 6-3 3-3 Gasquet
Guess what? Game Federer. To 15 this time. Dum de dum.

Federer 7-5 6-3 2-3 Gasquet
A sense of inevitability hangs over Centre Court, despite Gasquet doing well on another service game. The Frenchman holds to 15, producing a couple of booming serves, but he still looks a little unnervy on that ankle and Federer just appears to be biding his time.

Federer 7-5 6-3 2-2 Gasquet
The third love service game in a row, with Gasquet barely making an effort on the Federer serve. Perhaps he is just looking to hold his serve time and again in the hope he can edge a tie-breaker? Oh I don’t know. For me, he’s making this a little too easy for R-Fed.

Federer 7-5 6-3 1-2 Gasquet
Fair play to Gasquet out there, he is refusing to buckle… just yet, anyway. He pulls off a miraculous forehand winner to go 30-0 up and then feels the benefit of a net cord to seal the game to love. Right back atcha Fedster.

“Gasquet should be totally relaxed now – he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 7-5 6-3 1-1 Gasquet
Federer is so comfortable he’s bringing out the whole bag of tricks – squash shots, backhand overhead volleys, the lot. He holds to love.

Federer 7-5 6-3 0-1 Gasquet
Federer goes for the kill early doors, bringing up deuce with a booming backhand to put real pressure on Gasquet, but the Frenchman launches a service winner and backhand across court to seal a crucial hold.

1322: Gasquet calls for the trainer, apparently looking to have his ankle strapped, but Michael Novotny clearly came by bus as it takes him five minutes just to get out on Court. When he eventually arrives he calls for the three-minute break to attend to the Frenchman. Gamesmanship or a genuine problem? Federer could not look less bothered if someone had told him they had forgotten to set his video recorder for the Tokyo version of the Live Earth concert. Seriously, it’s no wonder Sarah Brightman is such a big star out there – they’re homegrown ‘talent’ is… well, not good.


Federer 7-5 6-3 Gasquet
It would appear Federer was just conserving his energy in the last game as he produces the consummate service game to hold to love and sink another nail into Gasquet’s coffin out on Centre Court.

“I keep going back to yesterday when Gasquet came back against Roddick. He just threw caution to the wind and it paid off brilliantly. It’s a little different for him today, though, I fear.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 7-5 5-3 Gasquet
Gasquet ensures Federer must serve out the set with an impressive service game of his own. The Swiss fails to get three back over the net and Gasquet holds with ease. Totty-watch springs into gear with a couple of lovelies spotted in the crowd – you gotta love those summer dresses. And I’m not even talking about RG’s piece.

Federer 7-5 5-2 Gasquet
I don’t know, you do your best for these people – sending out an almighty bok against Federer – and yet Gasquet cannot take advantage. A brilliant backhand winner aside, the Frenchman fails to cope with the Swiss’s serve and Federer looks comfortable on his way to a hold.

Federer 7-5 4-2 Gasquet
Gasquet survives as scare at 15-30 to produce a backhand winner on his way to a hold. It might not be all over just yet – as Jimmy Connors points out, Gasquet looked down and out after two sets against Roddick last night but found inspiration to come back, so why not again here? Well, for one Jimmy, because he’s facing arguably the best grass-court player ever. Secondly, he’s not playing nearly as well as last night. Thirdly, he looks cream-crackered. Fourthly…

“It’s hard to explain why Gasquet has lost his edge in this set. Federer has gone up a level, but he’s gone down a level and now he’s just hanging on for dear life.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 7-5 4-1 Gasquet
No sign of let-up on serve from Federer, though, bringing up another ace on his way to an alarm-free hold to 15.

Federer 7-5 3-1 Gasquet
Relief for Gasquet as he holds to 15 with Federer taking a breather. The Frenchman did get his forehand going again in that game, though, but RG’s piece looks unmoved.

Federer 7-5 3-0 Gasquet
Game Federer to love and it is one-way traffic out on Centre Court. It’s not all bad for Gasquet, though, as a quick glance up to the stands shows his missus is an absolute treat. The classic French beauty, she is almost certainly someone famous but I can’t place her. Therefore I shall be referring to her as “RG’s piece” for the remainder of this clockwatch.

“Federer is just ruthless; seemingly indominatable on the big points and solid in defence at all other times. It’s scary.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 7-5 2-0 Gasquet
And all of a sudden, Federer is making it all look remarkably easy, breaking Gasquet to 15 with a brilliant backhand down the line. He’s not yet roaring at full speed, the Swiss, but he’s definitely up a gear.

Federer 7-5 1-0 Gasquet
Federer does what he does best – turns the knife. He holds to 15 with a few booming serves and a couple of decent groundstrokes. Bjorn Borg looks on from the stands having, quite clearly, let one rip, because there is not a soul sat near him. Either he’s trumped or his new “Eau de Shagwar” after-shave is doing him no favours.


Federer 7-5 Gasquet
Unbelievable! I can only apologise to Gasquet because, having built him up all set, I clearly put the mockers on him and Federer breaks to take the set. I really do have a quite remarkable knack for that – I can’t wait til I’m clockwatching on an England football match so I can bok the opponents time and again. From 40-15 down, Federer finds his length on his backhand to move to break point and Gasquet nets a volley at the net to concede the set. That has to be heartbreaking for the Frenchman.

“The key to Grand Slam tennis is taking your chances when you get them. Gasquet has had them, going to 30-30 against serve time and again, and not taken them, while Federer gets a sniff and that’s it, set over.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 6-5 Gasquet
Genius from Gasquet, out-hitting the master hitter and bringing up two set points with a fabulous forehand on the run. Federer saves one with an ace and the next with a brutal forehand, though, and the Swiss produces two more sizzling forehands to hold. Cries from around the office of “Federer’s gone!” and “spent force!” might be a tad on the premature side, but Gasquet is by far the better player at the moment.

Federer 5-5 Gasquet
The first sign of nerves on the Gasquet serve, producing a couple of unforced errors to let Federer back in at 40-30, but a wide forehand from the Swiss gifts the Frenchman the game. Federer really does not look at all settled, it’s all a little strange.

Federer 5-4 Gasquet
Gasquet takes Federer to 30-30 yet again, but the Swiss again digs deep and finds a way out with the hold. Gasquet must now serve to stay in the set.

“What impresses me so much about Federer is that even though he’s not playing well, and even though Gasquet is firing early, he is still winning.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 4-4 Gasquet
A host of “stars” are out in force on Centre Court – Terry Wogan and Maggie Thatcher to name but two. Unfortunately, it would appear they are not sitting together – what banter those two would have. Especially as Wogan looks half cut already. Gasquet continues to look comfortable on serve, holding to 15 and Federer still struggling to make his returns.

“Gasquet will be delighted to have settled into his game so early.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 4-3 Gasquet
Gasquet is still making enough returns to give Federer the odd problem on serve, but the Swiss always finds a big serve to pull the game out of the bag. The Swiss holds to 30, but eight unforced errors tell you all you need to know about how rusty Federer has been at the start of this match.

Federer 3-3 Gasquet
Gasquet’s second challenge of the match is successful – as was his first – and he holds to love with a series of decent groundstrokes. The only downside of the challenge system, of course, is that all tension and arguments are nipped in the bud immediately – where’s the drama in that? Player: “You can not be serious, the ball was in!” Umpire: “Erm, no it wasn’t – look at the computer”. Player: “Oh”. Johnny McEnroe wouldn’t have known what to do with himself.

Federer 3-2 Gasquet
R-Fed is still looking a little rusty – just as he did early on in his quarter-final against JC Ferrero – and a backhand pass down the line puts Gasquet 30-0 up. A back-to-basics serve-and-volley game draws Federer level, but another forehand error hands Gasquet break point. Out comes the trusty serve, though, and the Swiss holds. This match has yet to really find it’s rhythm yet.

“I like the patience Gasquet is showing, while Federer is mixing it up quite well. The quality and aggression isn’t quite there yet, but it’s coming.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 2-2 Gasquet
The first meaningful exchange of the match sees the pair share 12 strokes before Federer forces the forehand error to move to 30-30, and the Swiss nets his first break point thanks to a volleyed error from Gasquet. He pushes a backhand wide to give it away, though, and Gasquet pulls off a terrific crosscourt forehand on the run on his way to a hold.

Federer 2-1 Gasquet
His groundstrokes might not yet be ticking – neither are Gasquet’s to be fair – but Federer has certainly found some early rhythm on his serve as he holds to love.

“Federer has dominated the head-to-head with Gasquet despite losing their first meeting, and it only goes to show that he will always find a way to beat a player. Gasquet is much improved of late, though, and his performance against Roddick last night shows he is hitting the top of his game. This could be close.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 1-1 Gasquet
A rather sedate opening to this match, as if both players have spent the morning watching Live Earth as opposed to warming up. I caught a few of the performances from the Tokyo gig earlier as it happens – what a strange old bunch of “musicians” that was, almost all of whom were dressed in school uniforms. Weird. Anyway, Gasquet holds to 30 without too much alarm, Federer still to get his groundstrokes going.

Federer 1-0 Gasquet
Mixed start from Federer, sending down an ace and a couple of big forehands along with a couple of unforced errors, and a Gasquet backhand overhead brings the Frenchman to deuce. An ace and service winner seal the hold for the reigning champ, though.

1210: The warm-ups are complete, and we’re about to get under way under bright sunshine…

1204: Gary Richardson grabs, although not literally, the players just before they step onto court (that always seems terribly intrusive and quite probably annoying) and Federer says he is “excited but a bit nervous”, while Gasquet is “a little tired”. Asked his gameplan against the world number one, the Frenchman says: “Nothing. Just to enjoy it.” Federer in straight sets then…

1159: Oh yes, and the all-important weather update – it’s sunny, with barely a cloud in the sky. Yes, seriously.

1157: A quick look at the head-to-head between these two and, unsurprisingly, Federer has the edge. The pair have met six times, with Federer winning the last five and Gasquet’s only success coming on clay in Monte Carlo in 2005. The Swiss has also beaten Gasquet twice in a final – in Hamburg in 2005 and the Masters Series in Canada last year – so the Frenchman will be desperate for revenge you would think.

1153: As one colleague put it this morning, I am a one-man e-commentating machine. Football? No problem. F1? Let me at it. Wimbledon? Bring it on. And I’m on for The Open golf championships in a couple of weeks too – loving it, loving it, loving it. No you can’t have a job swap.

Anyway, today is all about the tennis – and what a Saturday we have in store. First up is Roger Federer against Richard Gasquet, whose stunning comeback victory over Andy Roddick last night almost went unnoticed thanks to compatriot Marion Bartoli’s even more impressive win over Justine Henin. R-Fed is of course the odds-on favourite, but after the way Gasquet played last night, you never know…


Nadal’s king, but these 5 can usurp the throne

Matthew Cronin /

Breaking news! Rafael Nadal can be beat on clay — at least once every two years.

But despite his three-set loss to top-ranked Roger Federer in the Hamburg final, the Spaniard is still the favorite to win his third consecutive French Open title and become the first man since all-time great Bjorn Borg to pull off a triple. Here are the five best bets to take his title:

  • Roger Federer: Muddled in his longest slump since he became No. 1, Federer scraped and clawed his way to his third Hamburg title, needing three sets to overcome Juan Monaco, David Ferrer and Carlos Moya. Then in the final against Nadal, whom he had never beaten in five attempts on clay, he rediscovered his ferocious backhand, stepped further inside the court with his backhand to pick up the Spaniard’s high bouncing balls earlier and hit straight through his exhausted foe.Even though it was clear that Nadal had finally lost his legs after an amazing 81-match win streak on clay, the victory was a much-needed boost of confidence for Federer, who now believes that if he finds the zone, continues to hit out, serves huge and returns intelligently, that his chase of the calendar year Grand Slam is no quixotic quest. But if Federer is to win his first Roland Garros crown, he must play cleanly through his first five matches because he doesn’t want to enter the final weekend with tread-worn wheels.
  • Novak Djokovic: The hottest young player on tour has found his feet on clay and is looking all the part of a top five player this year. John McEnroe loves this guy’s composure and how he goes after the ball. He’s beaten Nadal on hardcourts, and he won Warsaw on clay.Interestingly, even though he’s a Serbian who has slid on plenty of clay courts in his life, Djokovic prefers faster surfaces. But he’s a good mover who can launch his forehand and rarely backs off the ball against elite players. He just turned 20 and is still a little immature, but unlike some of the veterans, he doesn’t fear Rafa or Roger. He’ll get after it, which is a sure sign of a future Slam champ.
  • Nikolay Davydenko: Hurt much of the year, the Russian rebounded in Rome with a semifinal appearance and a near win over Nadal. If he can find motivation — and find some heart — he’s a decent threat to reach the French Open semis (and maybe the final if Fed fizzles). He’s the tour’s most unknown top-5 player, but is a true backboard with pop and savvy.
  • Fernando Gonzalez: The Chilean slumped after the Australian Open final, overplaying and frequently losing his composure. The 26-year-old has huge weapons and a much-improved backhand, but he can be impatient and lose his focus. On clay, that’s a death sentence.Gonzo did revive himself at the Italian Open, reaching the final, but Nadal ran circles around him there and in Hamburg. If he can avoid the Spaniard until late in the tournament and catches fire, he can upset anyone on a great day. But he needs to show the same spunk he did Down Under.
  • Guillermo Canas: After a lengthy doping suspension, the veteran Argentine has run an incredible race back into top 25, grinding nearly every week since last fall and taking Federer down twice at Indian Wells and Miami.In his six appearances at Roland Garros, he’s played nine monstrous five-setters, winning five of them. Even though he can stay on court for eons, Canas has to be more of a risk-taker this year if he’s to pass the quarterfinals. Playing possum isn’t going to cut it as the tournament wears on.While the ATP Tour isn’t deep at the top level of the game, it’s near fathomless with men who have quarterfinal possibilities. Here are 10 other men who can reach the French Open final eight:
  • Graceful Spaniard Tommy Robredo
  • The talented yet erratic French hopeful Richard Gasquet
  • Czech powerballer Tomas Berdych
  • Argentine veteran David Nalbandian
  • Tireless Spaniard David Ferrer
  • The improving Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela
  • 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero
  • The up-and-down Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis
  • Argentine teen Juan Martin Del Potro
  • And two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.Unless they receive a very sweet draw, don’t expect American top 10ers Andy Roddick and James Blake to reach the second week. They are bedeviled by the dirt.