Cincinnati (USA) (AFP)
Richard Gasquet, 56th in the world and defeated Andy Murray in the first round, qualified for the 8th finals of the Cincinnati Masters 1000 tennis tournament by beating Argentina's Federico Delbonis, 66th, 7-5, 7-6 ( 7/1), on Tuesday, in the second round, where Benoît Paire (29th) resisted a set before sinking against Russian Daniil Medvedev (8th) 7-6 (7/2), 6-1.
Gasquet, who had the honor of the central court against Murray for the return in singles of the double Olympic champion and triple winner in British Grand Slam, faced Delbonis for the first time on a small court with bucolic scenery.
Richard Gasquet, 33 years old and looking for a 16th title, was better able to make his first bullets grow (65% of success as his opponent) and returns more powerful (41% against 36) to win after 1 h 54 minutes of exchanges.
For a place in the quarterfinals, Gasquet will be opposed to the winner of the match between Moldovan Radu Albot (39th World) and Argentina's Diego Schwartzman (24th). And it will be best to stay focused so as not to relive the rise of Delbonis in the second set. Leading 5-3, then 5-4, he lost his serve without scoring any points while serving for the match.
Whether Albot, 39th in the world at 29 and winner at Delray Beach this year, or Schwartzman, 24th in the world at 26 years and victorious at Los Cabos in 2019, the opponent will be on a whole new level.
It is besides the misadventure happened to Benoît Paire. In front of the "mountain" Medvedev, 8th world player and winner in Sofia this year, he delivered a good fight before losing the deciding game in the first set, his swan song. Since the French could then score only one game (on his service) in the second set. And thus bowed after 1h 18 minutes of exchanges.
Two other French must play in the second round on Wednesday: Lucas Pouille, and Adrian Manniarino.
Japan's Kei Nishikori, ranked fifth in the world, was surprised by compatriot Yoshihito Nishioka (77) 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, while in the women's tournament Simona Halep, former world No.1, 4th today and crowned at the last Wimbledon, gave a set to Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova before winning 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
© 2019 AFP