Richard Gasquet snapped a title drought stretching back two-and-a-half years as he beat close friend Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-1 in an all-French singles final at the Thailand Open yesterday.
The 67-minute victory came partly because Simon fell victim to a knee problem, a day after playing what he called some of his best tennis to reach the final. He cut a hugely despondent figure afterwards.
Gasquet, 26, last tasted title success on clay in Nice in May 2010 and he had lost three finals since, including Estoril and Toronto this season.
“I’m glad to win a title, but it’s tough to do it like this against another French player, a friend of mine,” the winner said. “I have to be pleased to win, but it was a little bit strange. I’ve had some tough matches this week, so this seventh title is a big one for me. I’ve played and lost some finals over the years since my last one, so it’s always good to finally win one. It was a good win for me here, a big comeback week.”
Gasquet, seeded second, said he knew nothing of Simon’s condition until his opponent took treatment trailing a set and 4-1 down.
Simon, the fourth seed, said that he was not sure if he would be fit for Tokyo, which starts today.
“I’ll have to see how I feel and how I practice there. I was playing some of my best tennis in the semi-finals — in the final it ends like this,” said the disappointed 27-year-old, who has split with coach Thierry Tulasne to go it alone for the foreseeable future.
Tulasne was in the stands for a farewell, but he will not travel to the Japanese capital.
“It would have been nice to win this one for him, but it was not to be. I just can’t be optimistic any more, I just have to live with this kind of uncertainty,” said Simon, who has also had back and shoulder problems in recent seasons.
AFP, KUALA LUMPUR
Argentina’s Juan Monaco clinched his fourth title of the year and kept Julien Benneteau waiting for his first ATP crown when he won the Malaysian Open singles final 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 yesterday.
The match lasted three hours and came a day after Monaco, the second seed and world No. 11, came through a tight semi-final against Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
The win keeps alive Monaco’s hopes of reaching next month’s ATP World Tour Finals as one of the eight top-ranked players.