Gasquet, Bautista Agut Set Masters 1000 Rematch; Nishioka Reaches Cincinnati QF

Nishioka doesn't experience letdown after Nishikori win

Richard Gasquet turned back the clock in a vintage performance on Thursday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the quarter-finals.

Gasquet, who underwent groin surgery in January, competed with great intelligence to record a 7-6(6), 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in one hour and 48 minutes.

“It was an important first set, [as] he was leading 6/4 in the tie-break,” said Gasquet. “It was the key of match to win this set, because it was a one-hour-long set, physically very difficult. I felt more confident winning it and then I could break him [at the] start of the second set, leading 3-0.”

The 33-year-old Frenchman recovered from 2/5 down in the first set tie-break and saved two set points from 4/6, prior to taking a 3-0 lead in the second set. He booked a place in his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final since April 2018 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with a forehand winner — his 34th of the match. Gasquet won 42 of his 77 points in rallies under five strokes.

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He will next face Spanish No. 11 seed Roberto Bautista Agut for a second straight week. The pair met in the Round of 16 at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, with Bautista Agut prevailing 7-5, 7-5 to improve to a 4-1 record in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. 

"Every player is in the quarter-finals because they’re playing really good tennis," said Bautista Agut, the highest seed remaining in the bottom half of the draw. "Now I have Richard Gasquet, who is a very good player and is in good shape. We played a good match last week."

Bautista Agut, 31, is projected to rise into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time next week with his win Thursday. The recent Wimbledon semi-finalist (l. to Djokovic) stopped the run of Serbian qualifier Miomir Kecmanovic, needing just an under an hour to close out a 6-1, 6-2 victory. Kecmanovic had defeated fellow #NextGenATP star Felix Auger-Aliassime and No. 7 seed Alexander Zverev in the first two rounds. 

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Earlier in the day, Yoshihito Nishioka continued his fairytale run to reach his first Masters 1000 quarter-final.

Twenty-four hours after beating his hero, fellow Japanese Kei Nishikori, for the first Top 10 victory of his career, the 23-year-old qualifier worked his way past #NextGenATP Australian Alex de Minaur 7-5, 6-4 in 83 minutes. He will next face Belgian No. 16 seed David Goffin on Friday.

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One break of serve in each set was enough for Nishioka to beat De Minaur, who won 28 of 32 first-service points. Nishioka beat Australian John Millman and Portuguese Joao Sousa to qualify for the main draw of his seventh Masters 1000 tournament, then defeated another Aussie in Jordan Thompson in the first round.

The 20-year-old De Minaur drops to a 20-14 match record on the season that includes two ATP Tour titles at the Sydney International (d. Seppi) and BB&T Atlanta Open (d. Fritz).

Goffin fought back from 4/6 down in the first set tie-break to beat Adrian Mannarino of France 7-6(6), 6-2 in one hour and 37 minutes. Last year, Goffin reached the Cincinnati semi-finals (l. to Federer).

"It was a great match and I got better as it went on," Goffin told ATPTour.com. "I am feeling sharp. I am feeling great now and I'm looking forward to the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000. I have nothing to lose."

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