Federer, Gasquet Advance to Finals in Hamburg

Posted on May 15, 2005

Qualifier Richard Gasquet will have his work cut out for him Sunday in the finals of the Tennis Masters Series Hamburg.

Gasquet, an 18-year-old from Paris, has been compared to a younger version of Federer. Armed with beautiful strokes, extraordinary talent and shotmaking ability, Gasquet went so far as to beat Federer in Monte Carlo last month. Even though the win give him confidence beyond his wildest dreams, itís likely not going to help him much on Sunday for the inevitable beat-down. The last thing Federer needs to do is to lose to a French teen on the eve of Roland Garros. If we know it, Federer knows it, too.

On Saturday, Federer had no problems putting the hammer down on Russian Nikolay Davydenko with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win. Gasquet faced even less competition posting a 6-1, 6-1 win over fellow qualifier Christophe Rochus to set up the interesting rematch in the final.

ďItís always nice to get a second chance to get him,Ē said Federer, already working his way into the head of Gasquet. ďI thought I was doing pretty good in Monte Carlo. I played a good first set. After that he started to unleash some winners on me which wasnít so pleasure, but still nice to see the shots (laughs), because they were good.

ďBut I hope itís not going to happen again. I will try to avoid that. But he has proven not only in Monte Carlo that he can play well,Ē Federer added.

Offered Gasquet, who will be playing in the biggest match of his life: ďI am so happy to be in the final in Hamburg. Itís incredible. For me to play a final against Federer itís a dream. I won in Monte Carlo but it was an upset for me. He is the favorite tomorrow, but I will play a great match tomorrow. I will do my best and we will see. But I will be very happy to be in the final.Ē

Adding further problems for Gasquet is Federerís insane record in finals. The Swiss has won 18 consecutive finals since a loss to Jiri Novak in the 2003 Gstaad title match. Federer is also 19-3 in Hamburg with three titles and 40-2 overall in 2005. Itís best-of-five on Sunday, and weíll give Gasquet a total of 13 games.

In the doubles final, itís (8)Llodra/Santoro vs (2)Bjorkman/Mirnyi.