Richard Gasquet upsets David Goffin in sudden death

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Richard Gasquet rolled back the years as he edged out world No 10 David Goffin in sudden death to become the first French winner on day one of Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

With sweat dripping off him throughout, Gasquet – The Virtuoso – won the first two points of sudden death to clinch victory, after the two men had shared the four quarters 13-11, 12-14, 12-11, 10-15.

The 33-year-old Gasquet began the match in style, taking a tight first set with some trademark one-handed backhands, but Goffin – The Wall – snatched the second with some gruelling rallies, prompting Gasquet to tell the commentators: “Sorry, it’s the first match we do after three months doing nothing so I just try to recover.”

Double-fault costs Goffin dear

Gasquet edged the third quarter when Goffin double-faulted on the deciding point and then, after Goffin won the fourth quarter 15-10, Gasquet won the first two points of sudden death to clinch victory.

David Goffin, UTS 2020

After three months off, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both men looked a little rusty but Gasquet moved ahead by a set when Goffin missed a backhand. The world No 10 seemed unruffled, though, and with coach Thomas Johansson urging him to serve and volley more, he hit back to level the match.

Brilliant forehand pass

Gasquet, who despite regripping his racquet each time, managed to share some words with the commentators on his headset in the two-minute break – one of the unique aspects of the revolutionary format – pinched the third quarter on a deciding point when Goffin, seemingly put off by the music pumped into the stadium, double-faulted.

Typically, Goffin bounced back again to win the fourth quarter 15-10, forcing a second sudden-death of the day and the momentum was with the Belgian. But Gasquet hit a brilliant forehand pass to win the opening point and grabbed the second on Goffin’s serve when he dumped a forehand into the net.

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