2014 Aegon International

Gasquet’s final countdown

Richard Gasquet made it a memorable Devonshire Park debut by storming into the final at the expense of lacklustre Denis Istomin.

The top seed required two 36 minutes to send the Uzbekistani ace packing in a dreary Centre Court contest.

Former Wimbledon champion Gasquet was simply head and shoulders above his opponent in every respect, and had he not nervously needed a towel at every opportunity could have wrapped up the 6-4 6-2 win in under an hour.

The French star, who recently missed two months of the ATP‎ Tour before cautiously playing Roland Garros – where he reached the 3rd Round – followed by a shock 1st Round defeat on grass at a Dutch tournament, was only using Eastbourne to improve his match fitness.

But, as the only player inside the world’s top 20‎, he has breezed into the final without being properly tested.

With American giant Sam Querrey and defending champion Feliciano Lopez of Spain battling it out to face Gasquet, then the 28-year-old should at long last be‎ able to determine in the final how good his form really is.

Gasquet’s dodgy back problems have thankfully not returned, and ahead of Wimbledon he will be rejuvenated with his confidence brimming – whether as the 2014 Aegon International champion or runner-up.

Gasquet said: “I’m very happy with the way I played, because it’s always difficult to play on grass. I played a good match today. It was important to play well because Denis was a dangerous opponent.

“The key on grass is to serve and return well, which I managed, but you need to be strong on every point to win matches.”

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