Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us for our coverage of Stanislas Wawrinka
's quarter-final clash with Richard Gasquet
. Both players have rushed out onto Court One as we look to get started before any weather interruptions.
Roger Federer has just defeated Gilles Simon in straight sets on this court... We might be interrupted by a few showers this afternoon, but they should only be brief. Umpire Manuel Messina has called one more minute of practice for the players warming up.
Here we go then, Big Stan opening up with the service!
Wawrinka makes early inroads with a strong forehand, but Gasquet responds with a great return the second time round. Gasquet looks to beat Stan down the line, but his shot is called out. Wawrinka goes 40-15 ahead with a serve that does for Gasquet and the game is over when the fourth seed pings one across the court with Gasquet stranded at the net.
Superb power and accuracy from Stan gives him an early lead with a pummel down the line. He can't quite make the next return as the scores go level. Gasquet pushes forward to earn a strong point in the corner and follows it up with a game-winning point as Stand can't quite meet his return.
Wawrinka holds a 30-0 lead when Gasquet pings a long one high and wide. A standout ace then sets Stan further in front. Wawrinka fumbles at the net, but is able to take the game at the second time of asking with another strong forehand across the court that wrong-foots his opponent.
Back on his own serve, Gasquet gains a bit of control as Stan shoots long on two occasions. The Frenchman wins out unchallenged when Wawrinka is undone by a neat whip across the court that induces a wide return.
Gasquet looks good with a strong backhand that buries Stan at the baseline, but the fourth seed draws level with positive attacking work off the front foot. The Frenchman gives Stan a point for free with a splice into the net, but Wawrinka can't take the initiative as he also finds the mesh. Stan eventually wins the game as Gasquet produces an error and is then undone by an ace.
Stan pops up a freebie for Gasquet, who fails in his reply with an equally poor smash that flies wide. Wawrinka can't quite return, but makes up for it with clever work from the baseline that forces Gasquet to fire into the net. The French player moves ahead when Stan pops long, and the game is soon over when Wawrinka fails to return.
BREAK! Wawrinka's forehand comes up short as Gasquet goes 30-0 ahead, but Stan fires something long to force the Frenchman to find the net from deep. Wawrinka moves back level with a forehand whip that leaves Gasquet reeling a little. More powerful play ensures that Gasquet finds the net once more, before Wawrinka fires deep to bring about deuce. Gasquet finds himself with a break point on offer when Stan fumbles at the net, and he takes it when his opponent misfires unforced.
Ooh! Bullet of a backhand from Gasquet this time has the Frenchman 30-0, before another mistake from Stan moves things to 40-0. Wawrinka hangs on in there and show good strength with a long return, but can't follow it up as Gasquet whips across the court to take the encounter. Wawrinka serving to stay in the game.
Stan starts off well when Gasquet finds the net on his return of serve and the Frenchman fails on the attack to give Wawrinka a doubled lead. Gasquet comes back into when the ball gets called wide off the net, but Wawrinka moves to within a point of closing it with a volley over the net. Stan moves forward on the charge, only to be beaten down the line. The Swiss star eventually wins out when Gasquet comes up short with his return.
SET! Stunning backhand work keeps Stan's hopes alive as he moves 15-0 in front, before a standout whip on the forehand makes it 30-0. At 30-15 Stan comes up short with a return that flies out the back to draw the scores level. Gasquet is stifled at the net on set point as Stan wrestles things back to deuce. Another first strike from Gasquet brings back the advantage and he wins the set when Stan pings long.
So, there we have it. The Frenchman makes a BIG statement to the French Open champion by winning the first set. Wawrinka has a match on his hands if he is to progress into the semis. Make no mistake about it.
Stan the Man gets off to an excellent start in the second set, rattling off four points in quick succession to move one game ahead. There's a rather subdued atmosphere from the crowd. There's a sense that they're just waiting for this one to explode into life.
BREAK! Now then folks. Big response to losing the first set by Stan, who wins his first break of serve of the match to move two ahead. That backhand of his is really serving him thus far. That wasn't an intentional pun.
Stan isn't messing about here, is he? Make that three games on the spin! He's 40-30 ahead in the third, before thumping a fierce volley beyond the reach of Gasquet to take full control of this second set. We've got a game on our hands! Love it.
Gasquet He roars back, though. He executes a lovely deft shot to leave Stan with no chance of a return to move 15-0 ahead. He then correctly challenged the umpire en route to a 40-0 lead, before serving out the game to reduce the arrears. I've never challenged an umpire and won, but I imagine it feels fantastic.
BREAK! Who wrote Gasquet out of this set? Feel foolish? You should, becuse he's only broken back! The point to move 40-15 ahead was particularly impressive, as the Frenchman gave Stan the eyes before walloping a shot in the opposite direction to force his Swiss counterpart into doing the splits! Well, kinda.
Aaaaaaaaaand we're all square again! That's how fast this match can change. Stan was 3-0 ahead and cruising, but one broken service game has changed the complexion of the second set for Wawrinka, who will face Djokovic in the next round if the Serbian gets past Cilic.
Stan the Man holds his serve to move 4-3 ahead. He barely broke sweat in that game, and his deft little lob to move 30-0 ahead was particularly delicious. He's yet to hit top gear, though, which is ominous for Gasquet.
We're all level again, my friends. Richie executes a beautiful drop shot to move 30-15 ahead! Make that two beautiful drop shots, as he executes another to level up the set at four games apiece. The last one made Wawrinka slip. He's making Stan go to ground more than Ashley Young here.
What a return this is! Wawrinka serves a bullet, but Gasquet returns it with a aplomb to move to 30-30, but it's not enough for the break, as Stan serves an ace to move 40-30 ahead, before volleying the winner following a brief ralley to move one game shy of parity in the match. Incidentally, Gasquet has no challenges remaining. He's used three but only one was vindicated.
BREAK & SET! Uh oh. Are cracks appearing in Gasquet's serve? Stan levels up the match at one set apiece, but it's sloppy by Gasquet, who concedes TWO double faults in the 10th game of the second set - and that's how Stan won his last two points. Really poor.
Yep, Stan's service game is far more solid these days. Well, far more solid than it was in the first set-and-a-half of this match. He takes the opening game after cruising to a 40-0 lead, before serving an ace to clinch the opener. That's more like it from the third seed.
If anybody is in and around the Wimbledon
area there's a free tennis ball sitting beside the path in your estate, because Gasquet has just put it there with a terrible return that most probably flew out of the stadium. Other than that, it was a solid service game and he levels up the set.
Gasquet hits the net with his return and it's enough for Stan to move 2-1 ahead. There were one or dicey moments, and Gasquet looks a contender for another break when the score is 30-30, but the Swiss holds his nerve, and his serve, to edge ahead in the game. And the match now of course. Still A LOT of tennis to be played.
BREAK! Stan's backhand is something else. If the whole tennis thing doesn't work out he could probably be a very successful pimp. It's that backhand which helps him into a break of serve with a few ferocious returns that has Gasquet scrambling all around the court to reach the shots. He's warming to the task now, you feel.
Wawrinka survives another brief scare on his serve to move 4-1 ahead. Gasquets fights back from 30-0 down to level up the game with some excellent shots, but back-to-back aces - the latter of which was proven via a challenge - sees Wawrinka move 4-1 ahead. He's bossing this now. Incidentally, it's 11-1 in aces. Does Gasquet even lift?
That's a big win from Gasquet, who cruises into a 40-15 lead, before Wawrinka strikes the net with that backhand - the one we praised him for a few minutes ago. He had to win that game to stand any hope of winning the set. But he did so have no fear.
Stan the Man retains his three-game cushion with relative ease. He's one game away from a comprehensive third-set win and, between me and you, he should definitely make the most of his advantage. He's cruising, but he has taken his foot off the gas at the wrong time in his match. Who knows!
That's 5-3 and Gasquet barely breaks sweat en route to a 40-0 lead, before his return clips the net and deceives Wawrinka a little. He raises his hand apologetically, but he won't care much. Wawrinka serving for the set now!
SET! That's that! Stan's serve has been much better in this set and he's 2-1 ahead. He takes a 40-0 lead, before his hard-hitting serve proves problematic for Gasquet, and the Swiss volleys home a winner after Gasquet's return to take control of the match now. Is there any way back for the underdog? Of course, given that Wawrinka - the third seed - has blown hot and cold throughout this match. Unfortunately for Gasquet, though, Stan is growing better as the match goes on.
Still no sign of an ace from Gasquet, but he doesn't need it. He's 40-0 ahead, and the Frenchman slams home the winner after Wawrinka's return came from the corner of the court. This set - and potentially the match - will be determined on service games. As it stands, Wawrinka's looks far more impenetrable than Gasquet's.
Yep, right on cue, Stan proves us right with another solid service game to level up the fourth set at one game apiece. Regardless who advances, it hasn't been a performance that will worry Djokovic, who potentially awaits in the semi-final. He's one-set up against Marin Cilic, by the way.
This set is a battle of wits and both are holding their own serve thus far - but can it last? One mistake will be fatal I reckon. If there's one cause for concern it's Gasquet's service, which has looked erratic. He's conceded three double faults in this match - and another one in that previous game after being 40-0 up, but he survived it.
It's a brilliant point by Gasquet to level up at 15-15, curling a fine shot right into the corner, but an ace from Stan puts him in command again. A close-range exchange sees Gasquet hit the net on his third return of the rally to give Wawrinka a 40-15 lead, before the Frenchman hits it ever so narrowly out of play as Wawrinka levels!
We've seen three big statements by Gasquet already in this set. He isn't going quietly, and he dominates this fifth game on his own serve to move 3-2 ahead. He made some cracking return shots to have Wawrinka running all around the court!
Stan opens up with an ace but Gasquet levels with a backhand volley to leave Wawrinka with no chance of a return. Before long it's 30-30, but a fire backhand across the court puts Wawrinka 40-30 ahead, prompting him to declare "COME ON" and he serves out the game then. Nip and tuck this. The margins are so thin you'll find them on Heat Magazine tomorrow.
Gasquet pulls out only his third ace of the match to move 4-3 ahead in the fourth set. Call it, folks. I can't see either player losing their serve in regulation. It's formidable to say the least. I think we're in for a tiebreak, but who knows!
Oooof! Talk about statements. Two aces takes Wawrinka to a 40-15 lead, before pulling out another one to win the game and level up the set at four games apiece! Nip and tuck doesn't cut it. One break will be critical to this match you feel.
Something's gotta give, right? Tell that to these two. This is lightning quick, as Gasquet doesn't lose a point en route to moving 5-4 ahead in the set. Something has to give but, as it stands, I'm not sure what, and by whom! Both are looking formidable as it stands. Incidentally, Djokovic is now two sets up against Cilic after winning both of them 6-4 6-4.
BREAK AND SET! Oh no this is poor from Wawrinka, whose service game buckles at the wrong time. Brilliant tennis saw Gasquet move 40-15 ahead, before a double fault from the Swiss saw his French counterpart snatch the fourth set! I honestly thought we were heading to a tiebreak. I couldn't see either breaking serve! Two sets apiece and this is nicely poised. Let's have a decider!
It's taken about, hmm, 40 games! But we've finally seen the first real rally, and it's worth waiting for, but Wawrinka edges it to move to 15-15. A few points later, at 40-40, Wawrinka pulls out arguably the shot of the match, but Gasquet brings it back to deuce, before ultimately edged the opening game. That would've taken a lot out of both players.
The games are getting slightly longer, meaning that it can only be bad for both players in terms of fitness. But Stan the Man levels up the deciding set at one game apiece with an ace to clinch the last point. He's got a ridiculous amount of aces today. It's not exactly Karlovic levels, but it must be close.
Gasquet shakes his fist in triumph as he holds his serve in style to move 2-1 up. Gasquet is playing some excellent tennis at the minute, and if I was a betting man, I'd be backing him to win from here. He seems to want it that bit more than Wawrinka at the moment, and it seems like a break of serve for Gasquet is imminent. Will we see it here? Time will tell.
Stan FINALLY levels up the set at two games apiece, but he's been made to work so, so, so hard to win his own serve here. Gasquet is threatening a major scalp and, again, it's only a matter of time before he breaks the Wawrinka serve. At the moment he's showing more heart.
More stellar play from Gasquet to move 3-2 up. It's far easier for him to win his service game than it is for Wawrinka to win his. The Frenchman is, in theory, halfway toward a massive scalp. I fancy him to take it, too. We're heading into a huge last few games in this decider.
Much better from Stan, who cruises into a 40-15 lead, before ultimately serving out the game to level up at three apiece in the deciding set. Are we going the distance? We thought we were in the previous set, before Gasquet pulled out a break in the 10th game to win 6-4. Don't be surprised if it's similarly as tight here.
Excellent tennis from the Frenchman again. He's 40-15 up, as usual, before cleverly deceiving Wawrinka by hitting it in the opposite direction from which he was travelling. Fine shot and he's two games away from victory! He needs a break to win it in regulation though.
BREAK! We said a break was imminent a few minutes ago, and we've just seen it! Sloppy Stan falls to a 40-0 deficit on his own serve, before clawing back two of those three break points, but Gasquet salvages it with a fine shot to win the game. Now he serves for the match!
BREAK! Aaaaaaaaaaand the Swiss breaks back! What a chance for Gasquet, who trips up at the finish line as Wawrinka digs very, very deep to win that game. He had a man in a pink shirt and pink trousers on his feet applauding at one stage, and he deserved it. He was 30-15 down, but three quite brilliant points saw him snatch the win. Amazing.
If anybody wants to lose weight for your summer holidays just ask Wawrinka to play tennis with you. He'll have you running around the court for hours. Richie is huffing and puffing here and he's about to blow a Gasquet, but he can't muster the energy to return the shot! Stan is turning up the heat and turning on the style.
Stan is 30-0 up as he bids for a second break, but Gasquet's smash and backhand brings the score back to 30-30, before winning the game. We're going the distance. Who's your money on? You're keeping it in your pocket? That's wise. Definitely wise. Gasquet, who was already two points from the victory about 15 minutes ago, will win if he breaks Stan's serve here. Let's go.
Get your sleeping bag out. Tell the spouse to keep the dinner in the microwave. Tell the kids to tuck themselves in because, simply put, we could be here all night. We're two sets apiece and six games apiece - and you have to win by two clear games. There's no tiebreak!
Brilliant from Gasquet, who wins on his serve within about, hmm, three minutes! He wants this. Badly.
I'm not joking we could be here all night. Real talk. Both of these have been excellent on their own serve in the last two or three sets. It'll take a bit of magic and character to get through this. Who wants it more?
Advantage Gasquet, but only just. He still has to break the Wawrinka serve, and that'll be anything but easy. We've only seen four breaks of serve in the last 34 games! As I said, the kids can tuck themselves in.
There's a brief break in play now as the crowd divulge in a bit of a Mexican wave. Incidentally, Nicolas Anelka is among the guests today, and he's had some wooden thing in his mouth for about two hours. It looks like a cigar but it's not. Anywho, we've got bigger things on our mind. Gasquet wins if he breaks the Stan serve. Let's get back to it.
Stan isn't messing about here, cruising into a 40-0 lead before volleying home the winner to restore parity at eight games apiece! Something has to give but lord knows who will let up in their pursuit of victory.
Still no sign of the crucial break of serve needed to establish a firm advantage, as Gasquet moves 9-8 up. He's got ANOTHER chance for victory here if he can break Stan. Let's go.
Of course, Stan holds his serve, but Gasquet works his you know what off in order to break, but the Swiss is too dominant, too aggressive and he comfortably levels up at nine games apiece. It's exhausting just watching this.
We go close to seeing Wawrinka inflicted a broken service game, as he leads 40-30 with break point, but Gasquet battles back gamely to survive! Tennis is a sport that takes a tonne of inner strength to negotiate the sternest of tests, and both players are being asked to dig deep here. Very deep.
GAME, SET & MATCH!!!
What a match that was folks. Gasquet has three match points, but Stan put the cat amongst the pigeons by taking away two of them, but the Swiss's over-hit return went out of bounds and Gasquet instantly collapsed to the turf with a combination of delight, relief and exhaustion. What a fine game.
That's all we've got time for now folks. Gasquet can now look forward to a semi-final with Novak Djokovic on Friday after the Serbian thumped Marin Cilic 6-4 6-4 6-4 a little earlier. Until then, take care.