Paris, June 4: Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland overcame a two-set deficit to beat local favorite Richard Gasquet 6-7 (5), 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 8-6 and reach the French Open quarterfinals for the first time Monday.
The seventh-seeded Frenchman looked set to win when Wawrinka's temper frayed in the third set, causing him to rant at the umpire several times for the line judge to be changed.
But with Gasquet under pressure on his second serve in the decider, the ninth-seeded Wawrinka unleashed a powerful forehand winner down the line to convert his fourth of 20 breakpoint chances and close out the match.
“It was a crazy match. Richard forced me to play my best tennis and I played at my best level,” Wawrinka said. “There was such an atmosphere that it felt like a Davis Cup tie. I don't know how I got away at the end, but I'm very happy I made it.
“It will be my first quarterfinal here, so I want to enjoy the moment.”
Gasquet beat Wawrinka in the second round of the 2006 Paris Masters in their only previous meeting.
On Monday, Gasquet showed fortitude to save seven break points in his first two service games and fight back from 3-1 down in the tiebreaker. The normally mild-mannered Frenchman punched the air with delight after clinching the first set when Wawrinka hit a backhand into the net.
At 3-0 down in the second set, Wawrinka had his right thigh massaged. Gasquet pulled away at 5-1 before Wawrinka won three straight games and missed a break point in the next.
Gasquet won the second set with an ace, making windmill motions with his arms to get the crowd going on court Suzanne Lenglen.
It looked like the match was slipping away from Wawrinka when he lost his temper early in the third set. He was unhappy at some calls from the line judge—and let the umpire know about it.
“The ball's there and he says nothing. He says nothing,” Wawrinka shouted. “Yes, yes ... (you should) replace him at the next changeover.”
After the fifth game, a tournament official came onto the court to speak to Wawrinka and the umpire.
“I want to change the guy,” Wawrinka said. “How can he say fault?”
His request to change the line judge was refused, making him even more irate.
“Come on, there is 20 people,” Wawrinka said. “That's not a small mistake, that's a big, big (mistake).”
Gasquet, who was sitting on his chair intervened, telling Wawrinka to leave the matter alone.
“Take it easy, take it easy,” Gasquet said in French.
But Wawrinka was angry. After the seventh game, and while getting strapping to his right thigh, he claimed the official had gone back on his pledge to change the line judge.
“Don't take me for stupid. He told me, ‘Yes I will do next changeover.' So why he told me that?” Wawrinka asked.
He recovered his composure enough to break in the 10th game with a forehand winner to pull one set back.
Gasquet missed a chance in the ninth game of the fourth set. Having come back from 40-0 down and forced a break point with an exquiste lob from the back of the court that got the crowd on its feet, he failed to capitalize.
Wawrinka saved a break point in the 11th game and leveled the match in the next with a forehand winner.
Fatigue seemed to be affecting Gasquet, who took a medical timeout at the start of the fifth set.
His concentration had wavered by the 14th game. At 15-30, he hit a wild backhand—his best weapon—that flew way out, giving Wawrinka two match points.
He only needed one.