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Gasquet downs Tsonga in all-French clash

Latest update : 2009-01-09

Richard Gasquet fought back from a set down to defeat fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane ATP tournament. Gasquet will meet the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek in the semi-finals.

AFP - Seventh seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet upset countryman and doubles partner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International tennis tournament Friday.
  
After being blown off court in the opening set Gasquet staged a remarkable comeback to down the second seeded Tsonga in 98 minutes.
  
He will take on eighth seeded Czech Radek Stepanek, a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 winner over Sweden's Robin Soderling, in the semi-finals on Saturday with the winner to play either Fernando Verdasco or Paul-Henri Mathieu in Sunday's final.
  
Gasquet and Tsonga won the ATP doubles title in Sydney last year and will play together there next week.
  
But there was no love lost in the first set as Tsonga, the world No.6, blitzed the first set, breaking Gasquet in the second and fifth games to take the set in just 29 minutes.
  
Gasquet came out in the second a different player and was able to comfortably hold his serve, while at the same time Tsonga went slightly off his game.
  
Gasquet broke at 5-4 to even the match up then dominated the third as Tsonga began to wilt under the pressure.
  
He said once he began to get the upper hand his confidence began to grow.
  
"It was difficult because I lost the first set 6-1 and he was playing better than me," Gasquet said.
  
"But I told myself to keep fighting and try to serve better and I may have a chance to break him, and it happened and I won the second set.
  
"After that my game got better and better."
  
Gasquet said it was important for him to beat top 10 players.
  
"I am 20 in the world, I was seven, so I can beat a lot of these guys," he said.
  
"It's good for me to begin the season with a semi-final before a Grand Slam -- it's good for the confidence."
  
Stepanek was earlier involved in his own come-from-behind win over Soderling, the fourth seed.
  
Soderling raced through the first set in 30 minutes but the 30-year-old Stepanek dug deep to get back into the match when he claimed the second.
  
He looked in trouble when Soderling broke again at the start of the third, but Stepanek got the break back immediately then broke again in the eighth game and served it out to take the match in one hour 45 minutes.
  
"I thought my first serve didn't work very well for the whole match," the 30-year-old Stepanek said.
  
"I had to work hard for my points and to play from the back is very difficult because he is very heavy and fast from both sides."
  
Stepanek said he tried to mix the game up and change the pace, which forced Soderling into errors.
  
"I thought I played very smart today," he said.

Date created : 2009-01-09

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