Open Sud de France, Montpellier
Men’s Semifinal: [CR10] Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs. [CR133] Dustin Brown (GER)
For a set and a half, Brown played incredible tennis. Yet as I watched, I wondered how long he would be able to sustain such high quality of tennis against a talented player like Gasquet. Gasquet had the added incentive of being the defending champion and despite his frustration; he was not inclined to lose this match to a qualifier. If you have never made it to a final, no matter how much you think you are prepared for the reality of getting there; nothing prepares you for the emotions that assault you as the goal appears imminent. After thirteen plus years on tour, Brown was on the verge of getting to his first career singles final.
In the first set, he crushed Gasquet 6-1, and was 3-0 up in the second. He could practically taste the victory; however, a match is never over until the last ball is struck. The reality of what he was about to accomplish dawned on him and instead of producing the brilliant shots he had been making for a set and a half, he started producing errors. Once he lost his rhythm, he was unable to adjust as the match started slipping away. Did Gasquet play better tennis the remainder of the match? He played wiser tennis; he kept the ball in play and let Brown self-destruct. Gasquet won 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.
It will be an all French final as Paul-Henri Mathieu dispatched of our spotlight player, Alexander Zverev, in straight sets in the first semifinal. Although they have not played since 2014, Gasquet leads their head-to-head 5:2 and won their last two encounters. It should be an interesting match since Mathieu appears to have rediscovered his top form. Is it enough to dethrone Gasquet?