Gasquet, Ferrer to Meet in Tokyo Final

Posted on October 6, 2007

One current and one former Top Ten star of the South African Airways ATP Rankings will battle for the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships title in Tokyo on Sunday.

Top seed David Ferrer and No. 3 seed Richard Gasquet will both be looking to enhance their chances of qualifying for Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai with victory in Tokyo. Ferrer is No. 6 in the ATP 2007 Race with 382 points while Gasquet broke into the Top 10 by reaching the final.

Ferrer will be playing in his third ATP final of the year and has been successful in both his first two, winning his third career ATP title in Auckland (d. Robredo) in January, before following it up later in the season with his fourth career ATP trophy in Bastad (d. Almagro).

The Spaniard is 4-3 lifetime in ATP finals. All of his titles have come on outdoor surfaces, three on clay courts and one on a hard-court (Auckland 2007).

Ferrer is enjoying a career-best season. He recorded his third and fourth ATP title wins earlier in the year and recently reached his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open (l. to Djokovic). The 25-year-old broke into the Top 10 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on the strength of his performance at the US Open and is currently enjoying his fourth consecutive week ranked at World No. 8. Playing in just this first tournament since his run at the US Open, Ferrer has not dropped a set all week in defeating Wesley Moodie, Vincent Spadea, No. 10 seed Feliciano Lopez and No. 7 seed Ivo Karlovic.

Ferrer is now 4-1 in Tokyo. He is enjoying his best run here after losing in the first round on his only previous visit in 2002 (l. to T. Blake).

Gasquet is appearing in his third ATP final of the season (1-1 record). The Frenchman finished runner-up in Estoril (l. to Djokovic) in May, but last week collected his fifth career ATP singles title with victory in Mumbai (d. O Rochus) dropping just 20 games en route.

The Frenchman is 5-4 lifetime in ATP finals, one of those titles coming on hard-court in Mumbai last week, one on carpet, two on grass courts and one on a clay-court.

The 21-year-old Gasquet has had a breakthrough year, reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon (l. to Djokovic), and spending five weeks ranked inside the Top 10 this summer before dropping down to his current position of No. 13 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. He was as high as World No. 7 (July, 9 2007).

The Frenchman has beaten three Top 10 players this season. He defeated Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, Ljubicic in the third round of ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo, and in the Tokyo semifinals he defeated World No. 10 Tomas Berdych. This week, Gasquet has continued his excellent form that saw him lift the Mumbai trophy last week and has not dropped a set en route to the Tokyo final, defeating Zack Fleishman, Rainer Schuettler, Dudi Sela and No. 2 seed Berdych.

Making his debut in Tokyo, World No. 13 Gasquet is now 4-0 at the AIG Japan Open.