Update: This article was published just as the Gasquet vs. Nadal match was finishing. While we believe Gasquet has shown great skill this week at the Rome Master’s, he ultimately lost to Nadal 75 61.
French ace Richard Gasquet has reminded everyone just what a talented player he is at this week’s Rome Masters – and he will go into his semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal with nothing to lose.
The 24 year-old, who reached the semi-final at Wimbledon in 2007, has largely been blighted by injuries throughout his career to date – as well as the infamous positive cocaine test and subsequent suspension which he received in 2009 after allegedly kissing a woman who was a user of the substance.
Ironically, Gasquet holds opponent Nadal in the very highest esteem after the Spaniard helped and supported him through that suspension two years ago.
And Gasquet will go into his clash with the World No.1 feeling no pressure, having already beaten Roger Federer en route to the last four in the Italian capital.
Federer was full of praise for Gasquet and his performance following that encounter and a repeat showing could easily cause Nadal a lot of problems.
With a potential final against either Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray at stake, Gasquet would of course love to get one over on his close friend – and his seemingly relaxed, uncomplicated approach may well stand him in good stead.
By contrast, Nadal will be far more adamant in his approach to the match as he will be desperate to take the title in Rome in order to wrestle back the impetus and initiative which he lost to Djokovic last week in the Madrid Masters final, where the Serb prevailed in straight sets.
With his World No.1 berth under continuous threat, Nadal may well be starting to feel the pinch as a wealth of expectation rests on his shoulders.
The clay king should prevail against Gasquet if he performs to his brilliant best – however anything less and the man from Beziers easily has the ability to cause yet another upset at the tournament.