Gasquet fightbacks to claim Qatar Open

Second seed Richard Gasquet comes from a set and break down to defeat Russian Nikolay Davydenko in Doha.

    Gasquet fightbacks to claim Qatar Open
    France's Richard Gasquet enjoys his bird trophy and an early victory in 2013 [AFP]

    Richard Gasquet, the world number 10, raised hopes of a climb towards the top five during 2013 with a gutsy fightback which carried him from the brink of defeat to the Qatar Open title on Saturday.

    The second-seeded Frenchman snatched an improbable 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory over Nikolay Davydenko, the unseeded Russian, who led by a set and a break of serve and seemed to be heading towards a notable triumph when he had points for 5-2 with a double break of serve in the second set.

    At that crucial stage Gasquet hung in without ever playing his best tennis, and after Davydenko needed an injury time out in a final set during which he also appeared to tire, Gasquet surged through to the eighth title of his career.

    "This is a big success for me, and it was very tough," Gasquet of the two-and-a-half hour struggle.

    "This is a big success for me, and it was very tough"

    Richard Gasquet

    "Nikolay was tired and I fought as much as I could. It was a good win against him because he plays so fast.

    "It's also incredible to win here where so many famous players have won in the past."

    Past fields included Rafael Nadal, who belatedly had to withdraw this year, and Roger Federer, both of whom Davydenko beat to win the title three years ago.

    It would have been a remarkable effort, after so little tennis in recent months, and at the age of 31, to have won again.

    "I am proud of my tennis, but disappointed in my physical condition," said Davydenko, down to 44 in the rankings after two injury-hit years.

    "But I shall work in the next week to get it as good as I can," he said, referring to his hopes of doing well at the Australian Open starting on Monday week.

    Davydenko had scored excellent wins over David Ferrer, the top-seeded Spaniard, and Mikhail Youzhny, his fourth-seeded compatriot, in Qatar.

    Gasquet, meanwhile, will take a break instead of competing in Sydney next week, preferring to rest a sore elbow in time for the Melbourne Grand Slam event.

    SOURCE: AFP


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