Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Ensnared by the web
Re: How would you rate Richard Gasquet's year??
From tennisuniverse, a fan's analysis:
2006 Look Back (4/4)
Date: November 3, 2006, 5:58pm
We review the last quarter of Richard Gasquet's 2006 season.
He took a break from the circuit and returned to competition on the hardcourts of Toronto. He had received a nightmare draw and could be outsted anytime. Somehow, however, he managed to win one match after another. Santoro, Blake, Verdasco, Berdych and Murray were additions to his list of scalps. Only one man stood in his way - Federer. In the final, Gasquet found himself 6-2 0-0* 0-40 up against a severely sub-par Federer. Was this his chance at a second victory over the Swiss champion? Unfortunately not. He missed all 3 BPs and subsequently lost the momentum and the match, as Federer just grew stronger by the game. The turning point? 0-40 in the first game of the second set. Not for the first time this year, the Frenchman was unable to follow up a fruitful week with another. He lost in Cincinnati to Robredo in two sets.
Gasquet was seeded at the US Open, something that no one would have expected after his disastrous start to 2006, but he was drawn to face Ljubicic in the third round. His draw opened up, however, when, to the surprise of many, Ljubicic was upset by Lopez in the first round. The Frenchman duly took advantage, sweeping past Simmonds, Simon and Chiudinelli to book his place in the fourth round against Hewitt, a first encounter that was eagerly anticipated by many. Down two sets to love, Gasquet fought hard to level things at two all. Unfortunately for him, cramps started to set in during the fifth set and Hewitt was able to get the decisive break immediately. Those who have followed his career would have expected him to crumble in such a situation. The French youngster, however, proved everyone wrong by fighting to the bitter end, saving two MPs at 3-5 with a BH DTL return winner and a brilliant FH DTL pass that came from nowhere. His limping became more and more severe though, and the Aussie was able to finish off the match as a result.
The start to Gasquet's indoor season was dismal to say the least. 3 consecutive second round losses to Clement in Metz, Roddick in Vienna and Djokovic in Madrid (which followed victories over Stakhovsky, Falla and Nieminen respectively) fuelled questions on whether the arduous season had taken its toll on him. In Lyon, however, the 20 year-old showed unexpected signs of resurgence, shocking Safin in the first round, putting away Norman, coming from a set down to beat Soderling and Clement before finishing the job against Gicquel. This was his first tournament win at home and it clearly meant a lot to him. Again it has to be said that after his lacklustre beginning to the year, it would have been unimaginable to think that he would win three titles that very year.
Gasquet carried his confident form into Paris Bercy, where he was able to get through a tricky match against Wawrinka in straight sets. He had a chance to extend his six-match winning streak but alas, it was not to be. He had to pull out of the tournament citing a thigh injury, which surprised almost everyone because he had not shown signs of it. During his press conference, he dejectedly elaborated that he had strained his thigh slightly against Wawrinka but the injury worsened by the time he woke up in the morning. A perhaps fitting end to a topsy-turvy year for the youngster.
2006 will be remembered as a rollercoaster of emotions. There have been moments of stinging disappointement as well as ones of incredible joy. Regardless, it has been an honour to watch this youngster learn and grow with each match he has played, showing glimpses of genius that we can only hope he will build on in 2007.
I think it's been like a business cycle myself, upswings and downswings but eventually ending up somewhat higher than before.
Adversity: The diamond dust that heaven polishes its jewels with.
Dreamers of the day, act with open eyes to make your dreams possible.