It happens rarely that a player wins a tournament being twice on verge of being eliminated. Richard Gasquet made two stunning comebacks in Bangkok en route to his seventh title: on both, second round and semifinal, he was two points away from defeat on return (against Grigor Dimitrov & Jarkko Nieminen). The final against Gilles Simon was a 68-minute piece of cake. “I played against a French player who is also my friend so of course it a little bit strange but for me it’s a title and I’ve had some tough matches this week so I’m very happy to win,” said Gasquet. The runner-up declared he parts company with his coach Thierry Tulasne.
It would have been fantastic weekend for the French tennis if Julien Benneteau had clinched his first title in Kuala Lumpur. In a 3-hour final, he was defeated by Juan Monaco though. Monaco needed nine set points (!) to clinch the 1st set (12 deuces in that game). In the decider he’d saved a break point at 2-all and broke in a following game – it was decisive (similar scenario occurred earlier this year in Monaco’s final against John Isner in Houston). Benneteau now leads a list of players with most finals lost not having won a single one #. A day before, Monaco saved a match point on return against Kei Nishikori at 3:5 down in the final set (6-2 2-6 7-6). The Argentine came to Asia having lost four consecutive matches, including two straight dramatic five-setters. Just like Gasquet, Monaco captures seventh title (four this season), but the first one indoors. Given Nadal’s injury, both todays winners (they shared No. 12 in the world this week with 2,110 points on their accounts), open a gate which may allow them to step into the Season-Ending Championships in London.
S: (2)Richard Gasquet d. (4)Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-1
D: (WC)Yen-Hsun Lu/D.Udomchoke d. (4)E.Butorac/P.Hanley 6-3, 6-4
Kuala Lumpur (250)
S: (2)Juan Monaco d. (7)Julien Benneteau 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
D: (3)A.Peya/B.Soares d. C.Fleming/R.Hutchins 5-7, 7-5, [10-7]
Choker of the week:
Jarkko Nieminen, in the Bangkok semifinal suffered the worst defeat in his long career in terms of being in a position to win. He led 6-3 4:0* (30-all) against Gasquet, later on he was serving at 5:4 (30/0) – the Frenchman survived 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
# The most losing finals without a title:
7 – Julien Benneteau (2008-12)
6 – Pierre Barthes (1969-72), Steve Denton (1981-84), Lawson Duncan (1985-90);
5 – Georges Goven (1970-75), Carlos Kirmayr (1976-82), Martin Damm (1996-98), Daniel Vacek (1994-99)
* Barthes and Goven began their careers in the pre-Open era, they aren’t titless considering this period of the history of tennis
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