2015 Win/Loss ratio: 16-10
Best Wimbledon finish: Quarter finalist, 2014
The road to this point: Four set victory over 2014 semi-finalist Milos Raonic
2015 Win/Loss ratio: 24-8
Best Wimbledon finish: Semi-finalist 2014
The road to this point: Straight sets win over world number 11 Grigor Dimitrov
Career Head-to-head: Gasquet leads 2-1
FOR the second match in a row, young Australian phenom Nick Kyrgios faces a man that he met in last year’s Championships.
That man is 29-year old Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Gasquet, who conceded a two-sets to love lead against the 26th seed, only to succumb to the power, hunger and determination of the fiery Aussie.
Krygios saved a record-equalling nine match points in their second round encounter last year, and the pair now meet again on court two at Wimbledon for the opportunity to progress to the quarter finals.
Gasquet, who was at that stage a top 10 player, reflected on the match that now defines Kyrgios.
“He played incredible,” Gasquet said of Kyrgios.
“It was his first match he won against a good player, I was top 10, and me, when you are losing with nine match points it’s very difficult.”
Richard Gasquet’s tournament has been a magnificent one to date, with the world number 20 breezing past his much more fancied opponent in Gigor Dimitrov in straight sets.
The Frenchman never looked like losing and is playing as well as ever, presenting an enormous challenge to the Australian firebrand.
The 26th seed, Kyrgios is in career best form and after conquering last year’s quarter-final foe in Milos Raonic in four gritty sets, the polarising Australian looks ready to take the next step and progress deep into the Wimbledon finals.
Still, even after his epic five set victory over Gasquet last year, Kyrgios is not taking his opponent for granted.
“I have a tough task ahead,” said Kyrgios.
“Gasquet is playing some really good tennis. Beating Dimitrov in straight sets is not an easy task on the grass.”
Unfortunately for Kyrgios, his demonstrative attitude on the court has soured the opinions of the 20 year old, with his burgeoning talent and fantastic skillset sometimes overshadowed by outbursts of frustration and ostensibly disrespectful behaviour.
The expressiveness displayed from the young Canberran seems to help him refocus on the job at hand, and his fourth round opponent has no problems with his attitude on or off the court.
“I think it’s great for the game. He has a good personality,” said Gasquet.
“He’s fun to watch on the court. He’s nice off the court. That’s the most important. He respects the players off the court.”
The two players have contrasting styles on the court, with the high powered and high octane offense of Kyrgios, who is reliant on overpowering his opponent and producing mesmerising winners.
Gasquet’s all round game makes him a dangerous opponent, especially on grass.
The Frenchman is adept at picking apart his opponents and exploiting their weaknesses, but lacks the killer instinct of his younger opponent, who actively seeks out to end points through hitting winners.
It makes for a fascinating match up and without a doubt the most interesting fourth round tussle on Manic Monday at Wimbledon.
Winner: Nick Kyrgios – $1.80
Correct score: Nick Kyrgios 3-1 – $4.33
Exotic bet: Nick Kyrgios wins the first set 6-2 – $21
The rematch of one of last year’s epics is set to be another classic showdown, with the high powered Kyrgios facing off against the savvy veteran Gasquet.
Despite his career defining victory last year, the 26th seed Kyrgios still trails the Frenchman 2-1 in their official head-to-head count.
Gasquet won their only 2015 meeting, defeating Kyrgios on clay in emphatic style; winning 6-3, 6-2 on his way to securing the Milleneum Estoril Open in April.
Gasquet said atoning for last year’s capitulation was his main aim coming into the match up tonight.
“It was very tough because I had nine match points and I couldn’t do it, so it was a big match. Of course it was tough to lose. He played incredible.” Gasquet said.
“It’s revenge. I played him this year in the final in Estoril, but it was on clay. It’s much different.”
The young Aussie’s form is terrific heading in, and with an off-season dedicated to improving his conditioning and strength, the 26th seed believes he has what it takes to progress past Gasquet and into the quarter-finals for the second successive year.
He has made only two visits to the All England lawn tennis and croquet club, but Kyrgios should progress through to the quarter-final stage again in 2015, with his overall power and shot making ability potentially too much for the 29-year old Frenchman.