2006 DAVIS CUP
RUSSIA v FRANCE
MARAT SAFIN v RICHARD GAQUET
7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-1
Russia took a commanding 2-0 lead after Safin beat Gasquet in 3 hours and 40 minutes. Playing in France, Gasquet took Safin to 5 sets with his aggressive shot making. Gasquet was firing off of both wings and was showing off a newly improved forehand that should help him win more matches this year. Gasquet also showed some brilliance in pulling off difficult dropshots in tiebreakers and knocking off volleys after sneaking to net.
But on the day, the tall Russian was just too much. Safin served 33 aces and was pounding his groundstrokes all day long. Safin showed mental toughness in not getting too angry during the match, and also showed some impressive agility in running down Gasquet's shots on the fast indoor surface. An exciting match that displayed Safin playing at his best which is always a treat and also showed the promise of Gasquet who can produce highlight reel winners from any part of the court.
Safin was delighted with his performance, which he described as his best since clinching the Australian Open title in 2005.
Safin declared, "I'm really happy with the way I played, definitely my best since Melbourne last year... Since I came back from the injury I've really struggled to find my rhythm.
"But if I continue to play like I did tonight I should be able to get back into the top 10. I served really well which I haven't done for a while.
"I've slightly changed my action and movement and tonight it really worked well for me," added Safin, admitting that Gasquet had surprised him.
"He played really well and his game caught me off guard a bit," Safin said. "But I was expecting him to give me a tough match because the French always raise their game when they're playing at home in Davis Cup."
Gasquet said, "Safin was great, ... I did what I could. I really have very little to reproach myself for. His service is monstrous. He has enormous power and talent. He's a very hard adversary to play against."