Gasquet survives a scare in Doha

January 03, 2013 - 1:15:41 am

Richard Gasquet of France returns the ball to Grega Zemlja of Slovakia during their match of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex yesterday. Gasquet won 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3). RIGHT: Nikolay Davydenko of Russia volleys the ball in his match against compatriot Mikhail Youzhny during their match yesterday. Davydenko won 7-5, 6-3. PICTURES BY: SALIM MATRAMKOT

Doha: Second seed Richard Gasquet battled past Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) in two hours and 44 minutes to move into the quarter-finals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex here yesterday.

Top seed David Ferrer  had no such problems. 

The Spaniard eased past qualifer Tobias Kamke of Germany 6-3, 6-2 to set up a last-eight clash with Paolo Lorenzi of Italy.

Lorenzi easily set aside the challenge of Czech Lukas Rosol 6-0, 6-4.

Also advancing to the last eight stage of the tournament were Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, Gael Monfils of France, Simone Bolelli of Italy, Lukas Lacko of Slovenia and Daniel Brands of Germany.

Yesterday the seeded players did not have it easy in Qatar. 

Three of them - Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, Viktor Troicki and Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany - crashed out of the championship, while the fourth one Gasquet, was stretched to the limits. The Frenchman withstood the tough challenge posted by Zemlja to make the last 16 stage in a marathon battle.

Zemlja served for the match at 5-3 in the third set, but was broken to love. 

The 10th-ranked Gasquet edged ahead in the deciding tie-break to win to register a fighting win. 

“It was very tough.  Unfortunately I lost the first set.  I could win.  I had two set points. If you lose the first set, then you have to fight.  My opponent  felt more confidence, serve incredible.  He’s a very good player. I knew he was a good player, so I had to fight a lot and I am happy to win.  I did my best,” said Gasquet.

“He (Zemlja) is playing good tennis. As I  am the seeded player  my opponents have nothing to lose and they give they their best. So I have to serve better.  I served badly today, but I will try again to do my best and fight as much as I can,” he added.

Gasquet said he would have prefered to finish the match in two sets.

“It’s better to win in two sets.  You know, it’s less tiring.  I prefer to win in two sets,” he added.

Gasquet will take on Lacko in the quarer-finals today.

Lacko eliminated sixth seed Viktor Troicki with a 6-3, 7-5 victory. 

Lacko broke the Serbian four times to advance in 78 minutes. 

Davydenko, winner here in 2010, upset fourth seed Youzhny 7-5, 6-3. 

In the all-Russian contest, Davydenko broke serve twice from six opportunities to claim victory in one hour and 40 minutes.

“In the first set was I feeling a little bit lazy because it was sunny and warmer. Then it started to get cooler,” reflected Davydenko. 

“I felt like I started to have more power and have better concentration. My movement started to be better as the match progressed,” he added. The 31-year-old Davydenko, a former World No. 3, has a 23-8 in Doha. He won the title in 2010, defeating Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal back-to-back, and finished runner-up in 2011 where he lost to Federer. 

In the second upset yesterday, Monfils topped third seed Kohlschreiber 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Monfils, who reached the final last year, and lost to Tsonga, won five fewer points than Kohlschreiber but prevailed in two hours and two minutes to clinch his eighth win in nine meetings with the German.

“In the start, he was very aggressive. And honestly, I was a bit scared because I saw the ball going very fast, and I was expecting long rallies,” said Monfils. 

“I had to adapt, change my tactic. And that’s why I think I became more aggressive. I tried to play a bit more loopy in the end to give me time and make him play up there, because he had very, very clean winners when I was playing under his belt.”

In the quarter-finals, Monfils will face Brands. The German rallied from a set down to beat Egyptian wild card Mohamed Safwat 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Lacko eliminated sixth seed Viktor Troicki with a 6-3, 7-5 victory. Lacko broke the Serbian four times to advance in 78 minutes. 

Elsewhere, Simone Bolelli of Italy overcame Lukasz Kubot 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.The Peninsula