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Fellow Frenchman Gasquet Ends Tsongas Surge

Friday, January 9, 2009

BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) — Seventh seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet upset countryman and doubles partner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International tennis tournament Friday.

After being blown off court in the opening set Gasquet staged a remarkable comeback to down the second seeded Tsonga in 98 minutes.

He will take on eighth seeded Czech Radek Stepanek, a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 winner over Sweden's Robin Soderling, in the semi-finals on Saturday with the winner to play either Fernando Verdasco or Paul-Henri Mathieu in Sunday's final.

Gasquet and Tsonga won the ATP doubles title in Sydney last year and will play together there next week.

But there was no love lost in the first set as Tsonga, the world No.6, blitzed the first set, breaking Gasquet in the second and fifth games to take the set in just 29 minutes.

Gasquet came out in the second a different player and was able to comfortably hold his serve, while at the same time Tsonga went slightly off his game.

Gasquet broke at 5-4 to even the match up then dominated the third as Tsonga began to wilt under the pressure.

He said once he began to get the upper hand his confidence began to grow.

"It was difficult because I lost the first set 6-1 and he was playing better than me," Gasquet said.

"But I told myself to keep fighting and try to serve better and I may have a chance to break him, and it happened and I won the second set.

"After that my game got better and better."

Gasquet said it was important for him to beat top 10 players.

"I am 20 in the world, I was seven, so I can beat a lot of these guys," he said.

"It's good for me to begin the season with a semi-final before a Grand Slam -- it's good for the confidence."

Posted by Shelia

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