Sunday, 22 January 2017

Dimitrov destroys Gasquet

In one for the tennis purists, the battle of the single handed backhands of 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov and 18th seed Richard Gasquet, scheduled for Saturday night, played out into the early hours of the first Sunday of Aus Open 2017, thanks to the late day session finish.

Dimitrov is riding a rich vein of form, having won in Brisbane, and Gasquet is happy to have won the Hopman Cup again with Kristina Mladenovic.
Both have played good tennis here to reach the third round, Dimitrov winning in four sets over Chung, and Gasquet dropping just three games in defeating Berlocq, in their second round encounters.

Dimitrov opened with a double fault and closed with an ace to hold his first serve.  Two of his winners set up individual break points which Gasquet saved and the French player levelled at 1-1.
From 40-0 Dimitrov found himself down a break point after a series of unforced errors.  He saved that but not the next and trailed 1-2.

The Bulgarian broke back swiftly, and in the eighth game repeated the dose.  However he can thank Gasquet and a suite of poorly executed ground strokes for the second break.

Serving for the set at 5-3, Dimitrov took his time and then some.  Starting with a double fault, he was at 0-40 and apparently about to lose his advantage, but saved the three break points with excellent all court tennis.
He saved one more break point, and visited deuce five times in all, before finally agreeing to stop this nonsense and sit down.
6-3 to the fifteenth seed and Gasquet left with plenty of work.

The job became that much harder when Gasquet dropped the opening game of set two.  His misfired forehand set up a break point, and Dimitrov's winning forehand clinched it.

There was a lot of good tennis played for awhile, with some of the exchanges worth sitting through the early hours of Sunday morning.  Gasquet's backhands on occasion were particularly brilliant.  Not enough to counter the all round quality we were receiving from Dimitrov however, and Grigor struck once more in the seventh game, three forehand winners the basis for a second break and a 5-2 lead.

A love game delivered Dimitrov a 6-3 6-2 lead and he was marching confidently towards the round of sixteen.

 As if Richard wasn't in enough trouble, double faulting on the first point in set three didn't help.  Grigor compounded things with another pair of forehand gems and the service break was inevitable.

Gasquet was taken to deuce in the seventh game, but was never troubled on serve for the remainder of the match.
Problem for him was that he never took more than a single point off Dimitrov when the Bulgarian served in the set.  Which makes it rather difficult to win the break back.

Dimitrov served out the set and the match 6-3 6-2 6-4 and also served notice to others in the draw that he is a contender.

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