Live Commentary: Rafael Nadal vs. Richard Gasquet - as it happened

Rafael Nadal celebrates his win over Marcel Granollers during round two of the Paris Masters on October 30, 2013
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Relive Sports Mole text coverage of the Paris Masters quarter-final between number one seed Rafael Nadal and home favourite Richard Gasquet.

Rafael Nadal booked his place in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters this evening with a comfortable win over Richard Gasquet.

Nadal broke the Frenchman early on, but Gasquet hit back immediately with a break of his own to restore parity.

From that point on, however, there was only one man in it as Nadal dominated the rest of first set before breaking Gasquet three times in the second set to secure the match 6-4 6-1.

You can read how it all unfolded with Sports Mole's live commentary below.


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6.30pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's third Paris Masters quarter-final as Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet both battle for a place in the final four.

6.32pmWe have already had a great day of tennis so far, with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer making their way into the semi-finals earlier today. Nadal will be desperate to renew rivalries with those two great players, and it would take a major upset from Gasquet to prevent that being the case.

6.34pmGasquet is playing some good tennis at the moment, but he has been dogged by inconsistency recently. Luckily for him, he is on an up at the moment, but one thing that isn't inconsistent is his record against Nadal. The Spaniard has won all 11 of their past meetings, the most recent of which came at the 2013 US Open semi-finals. Gasquet played very well that day, but was still beaten in straight sets.

6.36pmSo the odds are certainly against the Frenchman, but there is no doubt that he will receive plenty of support today. He secured his place in the ATP World Tour Finals yesterday so won't have that to worry about. He just needs to focus on his game and try to pull off what could be the biggest win of his career.

6.38pmThe coin toss goes in favour of the Frenchman, who will serve first today. He beat Nishikori in straight sets in the last round, and another win today would see him draw level with his best ever finish here. He reached the last four in 2007 but has not been back since.

6.40pmNadal was the eventual runner-up of the tournament that year, but he hasn't tasted similar success here since. Should he end that this year, however, he would become the first player to win six ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in the same season. That is not a bad return after he had such a lengthy injury last year.

6.42pmThere is no doubting Gasquet's quality, and he has certainly earned his spot in the ATP World Tour Finals in London, but Nadal just seems to have his number. It doesn't seem to be a good match-up for the Frenchman, and I can't really see that changing today.

6.44pmPREDICTION: As the players near the end of their warm-up, it is time for a prediction. I can't see past Nadal for this match, to be honest. Gasquet will certainly not make it easy for the Spaniard, but for me it will be a straight-sets victory for the world number one tonight.

6.45pmIn the previous 11 matches between these two men, Gasquet has only managed to take a set off Nadal on three occasions. Those are some fairly damning statistics.

6.45pmRight, we're ready to go now as both players trot onto the court following their warm-up. Gasquet to serve first...

Nadal *0-1 GasquetGood start from the Frenchman as he opens with an ace, to an almighty cheer from the crowd. Nadal then goes wide with one shot and slightly long on the next point with much of the court to aim at. Gasquet then finishes as he started with an ace to seal a love game - not a bad way to announce yourself in this match.

Nadal 1-1* GasquetDominant play from Nadal on the first point as he hammers a few backhands to Gasquet before finishing him off with a cross-court forehand. The Frenchman goes wide on the next shot before a backhand passing shot from Nadal catches Gasquet racing up towards the net. Gasquet then hits it long as Nadal wins a love game of his own.

Nadal *2-1 GasquetBREAK! Things are not so straightforward for Gasquet in his second service game as Nadal forces him to the baseline to take a 40-15 lead. Gasquet then hits a second consecutive shot into the net and Nadal has an early break of serve.

Nadal 2-2* GasquetBREAK! Great play from Gasquet to open the game as he battles back from a fine Nadal shot to reach the ball and fire it past the Spaniard. Nadal then hits one into the net before a lovely combination of shots sees Gasquet take a 40-0 lead with three break points. He needs just the one, however, as Nadal fires one long for the Frenchman to break back immediately. That has got the crowd going!

Nadal *2-3 GasquetGasquet pulls out the serve and volley having lost the opening point of the game, and Nadal hits two consecutive shots into the net for the Frenchman to take control. Another ace sees him extend that lead, and he holds the serve as Nadal hits yet another one into the net.

Nadal 3-3* GasquetNadal makes short work of the opening point, but then Gasquet produces a fine return right at the feet of the Spaniard to take the next point. The Frenchman continues his good work on the next point but an unforced error makes it 30-30 as he hits his return long. Nadal shows tremendous defence to win the next point after some dominant hitting from Gasquet, and then the Spaniard comes to the net to seal the game. Gasquet is playing well here, though.

Nadal *4-3 GasquetBREAK! Gasquet opens the game with a double fault, drawing groans from the crowd, and those grow louder as he hits a serve and volley wide moments later. Nadal then hits the net before a complete miscue from Gasquet hands the Spaniard two break points. He seals the break at the first time of asking with a fine return as Gasquet once again tried to race in for a serve and volley.

Nadal 5-3* GasquetNadal is starting to find an answer to Gasquet's bright start now. He makes short work of this game, ending it with an ace to take it to love. He is now receiving for the opening set.

Nadal *5-4 GasquetGasquet avoids a second consecutive break of serve, with Nadal making a few unforced errors to help the Frenchman along the way. Is he merely delaying the inevitable, though? Nadal will now serve for the set.

Nadal 6-4 GasquetSET! Nadal picks up the first set, but it was by no means a comfortable ride for him. Gasquet blows a good chance to claim the opening point when a superb backhand puts Nadal on the ropes, but the Frenchman fires his smash right into the net. The Spaniard then hits a shot which bounces off the top of the net and long before responding with an emphatic ace. He then closes out the game without trouble to seal the opening set.

7.21pmNadal will be happy with that opening set overall. Gasquet has arguably played as well as he has ever done against Nadal so far. but still the Spaniard claimed it fairly comfortably in the end. Still, the Frenchman battled back from being broken and broke the Spaniard once himself, which should give him a lot of confidence for the second set.

Nadal 6-4 *1-0 GasquetBREAK! A really good start to the set sees both men claim points after entertaining rallies, but then Gasquet slams the ball into the net when going for a winner to hand Nadal the initiative. The Spaniard then hammers a cross-court forehand to have two break points, and once more he just needs one of them as he claims an early break.

Nadal 6-4 2-0* GasquetGasquet loses the opening point but responds well with a fine forehand winner. A second complete mis-hit of the match so far hands control back to Nadal, however, and the Spaniard makes the most of it to serve out the game. It is getting increasingly hard to see a way back for Gasquet right now.

Nadal 6-4 *3-0 GasquetBREAK! The Frenchman isn't giving up on his serve and volley tactic today, and it looks like it is starting to work now. He wins back-to-back points with it, but then hits a disappointing shot into the net having decided to hang back at the baseline. Once again, all Nadal needs is a little sniff and he is back in the game, winning the next four points to pick up another break of serve.

Nadal 6-4 4-0* GasquetNadal's dominance is really starting to shine through now. He makes very short work of this game, winning it with ease to move 4-0 in the second set. He is just two games away from the final four now, and it would take a miracle for Gasquet to come back from this. It looks like his winless streak against Nadal will move to 12 matches.

Nadal 6-4 *4-1 GasquetThe Spaniard is pulling Gasquet all over this court at the moment, and it is no surprise that the Frenchman fails to make it to a Nadal drop shot. He shows some flashes of brilliance during the game but then challenges Nadal to attack him while standing way behind the baseline - which is always a battle that the Spaniard is going to win in this form. The Frenchman does eventually get on the board, however, succeeding after our first deuce of the evening.

Nadal 6-4 5-1* GasquetGasquet is still showing bright signs in this match, but Nadal is simply on another level. For every good play that the Frenchman is making, the Spaniard is making two, or least two effective ones that are winning him points. Nadal just proves too good for Gasquet in this latest game, with the highlight being a fine cross-court backhand winner, before an ace takes him within one game of the match and the semi-finals.

Nadal 6-4 6-1 GasquetGAME, SET, MATCH! Nadal makes it look so easy as he cruises into the semi-finals. He needs both of his match points in the final game, but eventually sends a powerful forehand winner down the line to complete the victory.

7.55pmThere was a moment at the start of the match when Gasquet may have dreamt of ending his losing streak against Nadal, but in the end the match fell into a familiar rhythm. Nadal wasn't troubled much beyond the opening few games and was particularly dominant in the second set. The Spaniard takes one step closer to his first Paris title and making history in winning six World Tour events in one season, and it will take a brave man to bet against him in this tournament.

7.57pmNadal will face either David Ferrer or Tomas Berdych in the semi-final, and he will be confident of beating either of them if he can replicate tonight's performance. Can anyone stop the relentless Spaniard?

8pmRight, that's all we have time for from this match, but be sure to jump over to our commentary for the next quarter-final between Ferrer and Berdych, which will be underway shortly. Who will become the fourth and final Paris semi-finalist?

Richard Gasquet in action against David Ferrer during their US Open quarter final match on September 4, 2013
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