|Posted on September 12, 2014 at 10:30 AM|
H2H Tomas Berdych vs Richard Gasquet
Berdych to face Gasquet in Davis Cup semifinals
SEP 11, 2014
PARIS -- Gael Monfils failed to beat the jet lag and was replaced by Richard Gasquet, who will open for France against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup semifinals on Friday.
A long trans Atlantic flight from the United States combined with a difficult switch to clay got the better of Monfils, who lost in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open last week in five sets to Roger Federer.
"This is not a personal decision. It's a team decision," Monfils said at Thursday's draw ceremony. "They asked me how I felt and I told them it would be better if I was not selected for the opening match. We are lucky enough to have a great reservoir of good players."
Two-time defending champions Czech Republic are bidding to reach their third straight Davis Cup final, while France is looking to advance to the final for the first time since 2010.
The second singles on Friday will pit Jo-Wilfried Tsonga against Lukas Rosol at Roland Garros, the home of the French Open. Tsonga lost in the fourth round at the U.S. Open but produced good wins over Novak Djokovic and Federer in Toronto to win the title earlier this summer.
Tsonga said he was not surprised by Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil's decision to name Rosol as his No. 2 player instead of the experienced Radek Stepanek.
"Radek has played a crucial role in Czech Republic's successes over the past two years, but his recent results on the tour have not been so good while Lukas is playing better and better," Tsonga said.
Tsonga has not played Rosol in two years, since he beat him on a hard court in Dubai in 2012. Gasquet has a 5-3 advantage in career matches against Berdych.
"Both (Richard and Gael) can play," said Berdych, who has yet to win a match on the center court at Roland Garros. "It just shows how strong the French team is and how many options they have. I'm here to be prepared to face all of them, no matter who I'm going to start against."
Gasquet gives France Davis Cup lead
Playing some exceptional tennis Richard Gasquet defeated Tomas Berdych 63 62 63 in just two hours and eight minutes. Berdych was out of sorts with his timing on the red clay courts and double-faulted on match point to surrender the match.
Gasquet knew that this was a match that would set the home team up for the weekend. "It was an incredible match for me and I’m very happy to win this match," he said. "It was important to start well. I have a lot of pressure to play on that court. The crowd was unbelievable and I’m very happy."
Gasquet broke serve in the third game of the first set and went on to wrap that up. He scored a double break in the second and was almost leading 4-0 when Berdych scored one break back but the Frenchman broke once more to close out a two sets to love advantage. In the third the Frenchman was hitting his stride beautifully and Berdych was feeling the pressure.
"It was my worst Davis Cup match but also Richard played well," said Berdych. "The truth is I was not a competitive enough opponent for him, that’s why the score looks like how it is."
"This is the toughest conditions for me, coming from fast hard courts to the clay. I definitely need more time but it was a good choice for France. I need to move on and get over it."