Unbeaten Gasquet takes France to Hopman Cup final

Perth: Richard Gasquet maintained his unbeaten record to help guide France into the Hopman Cup final Thursday before vowing to adopt a more attacking approach in a bid to shake up the established order in men's tennis.

Gasquet eased to a 6-2 6-4 win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco shortly after Marion Bartoli had got the French ball rolling with an identical scoreline victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues in the singles matches of the mixed-team event tie.

The mixed doubles was not played because the French had already done enough to win Group B.

Gasquet is well known for being a flair player with arguably the best backhand in world tennis. The 25-year-old has also shown glimpses of brilliance to match the top players in the rankings but never peaked long enough to win a major title.

 Unbeaten Gasquet takes France to Hopman Cup final

Gasquet is well known for being a flair player with arguably the best backhand in world tennis. Reuters

Hoping to become a more consistent force in the future, the world number 19 has pinpointed how and where he needs to change his strategy if he is to have any chance of making a breakthrough in the grand slam events.

"There are too many times in matches when I don't attack," Gasquet told Reuters Thursday.

"Sometimes it is in my nature to sit back and wait for an error from the guy I'm playing," he added.

"When the big moments come, I need to have the confidence to do what Roger (Federer), Novak (Djokovic) and Rafa (Nadal) do... they attack.

"I am getting there. To beat Fernando is a big step in the right direction, he's one of the best players in the world."

Gasquet claimed wins over Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and China's Wu Di in the group stage and his team mate Bartoli is also shaping up to be a serious contender for the Australian Open in Melbourne with some encouraging performances.


The world number nine lost to China's Li Na in her opening match but has since recovered to defeat Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova 6-0 6-0 and dominated Garrigues, the wins helping to vindicate her decision to train in Perth ahead of the event.

"I trained so hard because I would look extra ridiculous playing with Richard if I was not ready," Bartoli said.

"I really felt like I needed a break from playing indoors all the time in Switzerland in very cold weather," she added.

"It has been extremely hot here for weeks but I've been working extremely hard on my fitness level.

"I had a good 2011 but I want to do even better in 2012. I have been training here in Perth for 20 days now and hopefully the fitness I have will help me a lot in the next few weeks."

Looking ahead to the season's first grand slam, starting on January 16, Bartoli was keen to emphasize a need to start well and take no one in the draw for granted.

"It's very wide open but at the same time, there are a lot of good players on the women's tour now who could beat you in the first or second round," she added.

"You have to be extremely careful from the first day. There is not really a player you can take easily. Even today with Anabel, she is ranked 27 in the world, but it was a very competitive match.

"I don't want to look too far ahead. We are in the final here, there is another tournament in Sydney next week and then we can talk about the Australian Open."


Updated Date: Jan 05, 2012 18:03:49 IST