It was long and very difficult at times, but Richard Gasquet finally pulled through. On court No. 15 at Wimbledon, the Frenchman won his place for the second round by dominating Joao Sousa on Tuesday (7-6 , 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3). The Frenchman owes his success, long compromised, to a service found in the last round. This is the 12th time in his career that he has won in five sets (against 13 failures).
A volley redacted by Sousa gave him the entry break. But the Portuguese (60th), more enterprising at the start, immediately came back to match. The Frenchman then had to dismiss two break points in the fifth game thanks to two winners. Under the gaze of Paul-Henri Mathieu and Sébastien Grosjean, he was even quite happy to save a set point at 5-6, Sousa completely missing a backhand slice. The tie-break turned into a beautiful drop-lob combo, on which Sousa landed heavily on his left arm. In the process, he faulted forehand (9 points to 7).
Probably bothered by pain in his left shoulder, the Portuguese withered in the second set. He gave too much behind. Impeccable on his break opportunities (three out of three), Gasquet firmly held the helm (7-6, 6-2, in 1h33). But then his serve suddenly took a nosedive. In the third and fourth innings, he served only 47%, then 49% first serves. Recovered from his emotions, Sousa took over thanks to his forehand. Gasquet even squarely swung the last point of the fourth set. His body language didn’t say anything good.
But he regained his energy and especially his serve just in time. On which he only dropped one point in the last set (four shutouts). A more aggressive tennis gave him the break at 2-1. It was the last and the good. Gasquet will face Mackenzie McDonald in the second round.