Richard Gasquet holds on to top David Ferrer in U.S. Open quarterfinals
NEW YORK (AP) - Richard Gasquet is getting the hang of this five-set thing.
The eighth-seeded Gasquet reached his second Grand Slam semifinal, and first since 2007, by eliminating fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
"It means a lot. I'm 27, so the last time I did it, I was 21 years old,'' France's Gasquet said. "For sure, it's a big victory for me.''
He was playing in only the second major quarterfinal of his career, having been 1-15 in fourth-round matches until edging No. 10 Milos Raonic on Monday, also in five sets. Gasquet is 7-12 in matches that go the distance, a far cry from Ferrer's 19-10 mark.
But it was Ferrer who faltered down the stretch after coming back to even the match by winning the third and fourth sets. Ferrer, the runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the French Open in July, played a loose game while down 3-2 in the fifth, including a double-fault on break point.
Gasquet's only previous Grand Slam semifinal came at Wimbledon six years ago, when he lost to Roger Federer at that stage.
He's the first Frenchman to make the U.S. Open semifinals since Cedric Pioline in 1999.
Ferrer entered Wednesday with an 8-1 head-to-head record against Gasquet. But Gasquet's smooth, one-handed backhand was on target from start to finish during the nearly 3 1/2-hour match, and he finished with 21 winners off that wing, while Ferrer had only nine.
Gasquet served out the opening set at love, capping it with a point in which he hit two cross-court backhands that pushed Ferrer wide of the doubles alley, then smacked one down the line for a winner.
In Saturday's semifinals, Gasquet will face No. 2 Nadal, a 12-time major champion, or No. 19 Tommy Robredo, who entered Wednesday night with an 0-6 record in Grand Slam quarterfinals.
There could be little doubt about which player Gasquet would have preferred to face.
He is 0-10 against Nadal on tour, 2-2 against Robredo.
Against Nadal, Gasquet noted in an on-court interview, "I never won. Last time I beat him, I was 13. It was a long time ago.''
Viewed as potentially one of the next greats of the game when he turned pro as a teenager in 2002, Gasquet has struggled to live up to those lofty expectations.
In 2009, after testing positive for cocaine, he missed the French Open and Wimbledon while serving a suspension that was reduced to 2 1/2 months on appeal. An appeals panel accepted Gasquet's explanation that the drug inadvertently entered his system when he kissed a woman in a Miami nightclub hours after withdrawing from that city's tournament because of an injury.