Japan Open: Gasquet Storms Into Quarter-finals
Richard Gasquet eased into the Japan Open quarter-finals Thursday with a routine 6-0, 7-6 win over Taipei's Lu Yen-Hsun, as the Frenchman bids to salvage an injury-hit season.
Richard Gasquet. (Getty Images)
Tokyo: Richard Gasquet eased into the Japan Open quarter-finals Thursday with a routine 6-0, 7-6 win over Taipei's Lu Yen-Hsun, as the Frenchman bids to salvage an injury-hit season.
Gasquet endured a tricky first service game and was forced to save two break points but encountered little resistance after that, inflicting a dreaded first set "bagel" on an opponent ranked number 63rd in the world.
The second set was much tighter but Gasquet -- now ranked 30th in the world although he has climbed as high as seventh -- clinched the tie-break 7-5 to book his place in the last eight after one hour and 28 minutes.
Gasquet has not troubled the business end of the Grand Slam tournaments this year, losing in the first round of Wimbledon and the US Open and getting to the last 32 in his home tournament at Roland Garros as well as the Australian Open.
The 31-year-old has struggled with back problems and a thigh injury forced him to withdraw at the French Open.
But a recent return to the second-tier Challenger circuit appears to have boosted his confidence, winning last month in Szczecin, and he hopes to repeat his 2007 performance in Tokyo where he reached the final.
Gasquet next faces either Belgium's fourth seed David Goffin or Matthew Ebden from Australia, who dispatched big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the previous round.
Meanwhile, American Steve Johnson followed up his surprise win over Austrian wunderkind Dominic Thiem with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Ukraine's Oleksandr Dolgopolov.
Johnson was especially dominant on first serve, winning an impressive 93 percent of points and 100 percent in the first set.
Dolgopolov, ranked 44th in the world, could only force two break points in the whole match.
Johnson now faces eighth seed Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-final after the Argentine disposed of Australia's Bernard Tomic.
Croatian Marin Cilic heads the Tokyo field this year at a tournament whose list of former champions includes tennis greats Ken Rosewall, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
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