Today, he was Richard "The Rocket" Gasquet. Recovering his composure—and game—following the loss of a first-set tiebreaker to 34-year old qualifier Tommy Haas, Gasquet produced a breathtaking display of firepower and shotmaking, and this time he appeared to have the determination and desire that doesn't always accompany those assets. He won going away, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-0, 6-0, earning a fourth-round seat opposite No. 4 seed Andy Murray.

Although the match turned into a blowout and will be celebrated throughout France as a spectacular display of Gasquet's skills, credit Haas for the amazing run he's had at this event. Thirty-four years old, ranked No. 112, and coming off the latest in a string of serious, career-threatening injuries, Haas played six matches (including qualifying)—the equivalent of reaching a Grand Slam semifinal.

Sure, those three qualifying matches were best-of-three sets. But it's a great showing by a player who's still trying to round into comfortable, ideal shape. It wasn't surprising that by the end of the second set Haas was running on fumes; the shocker was that he was running at all. Morever, at the start it looked as if he might produce the upset.

Haas broke Gasquet in the very first game and jumped to a 2-0 lead. In the next game, Haas served up a double-fault at 15-30, but wiped away both break points with winners. But he made a forehand error at deuce, and Gasquet leveled the match at 2-2 when he forced another forehand error out of Haas.

Both players settled in after that, and proceeded on serve to the tiebreaker. Haas' spirits had to be lifted when Gasquet played a tiebreaker that could be used as a case study in tennis grad school: What Not to Do in a Tiebreaker.

Due probably to nerves, Gasquet made an unforced backhand error to end the rally during the first point. He mini-broke right back, but Haas went up 2-1 on a service winner to Gasquet's backhand. Haas took the initiative during the next point, driving a passive, retreating Gasquet back off the baseline—so far back that the Frenchman ultimately left the German with a wide-open court into which to smack an inside-out forehand. It was the key moment in the tiebreaker.

With Haas leading 3-1, we had three service holds. But at 2-5—pretty much Gasquet's last chance to get back into contention—he clubbed a double fault. Two points later, Haas secured the set with an aggressive volley that Gasquet drove into the net with his forehand.

That first set took exactly an hour, and while I'm sure Gasquet didn't plan it that way, the duration, and the demands it put on Haas, were bound to come into play downstream—unless Haas found a way to break his opponent's spirit and retain the momentum. It looked as if he might pull it off through the first few games of the second set, but Gasquet was in no mood to quit without a fight.

At 2-2, Haas fell behind, 15-40. He forced a backhand pass error to save a break point, but Gasquet made the most of the second one, rallying until Haas botched another backhand—whereupon Gasquet spun on his heels to face his coaches and friends, clenched his fists, and roared in exultation. It's worth pointing out mostly because it gives us a pretty good idea of just how bound-up and tense Gasquet had been, inside, up to that point.

That roar opened the floodgates. Haas would win just one—ONE—game thereafter, which was his next one, for 3-4. Following a Gasquet hold, Haas scratched through most of a game, saving two break points. The double fault that finally gave Gasquet the break, and second set, was just an omen of things to come.

Gasquet jumped all over Haas to start the third set, and seemed to gain confidence with every swing of his racquet. He had Haas on a string and he produced any number of spectacular shots, confirming once again the theory that if  you allow Gasquet to loosen up and get ahead of you, he becomes a regular Rod Laver. It didn't hurt him that the French crowd on the Lenglen court lapped it up, loving every minute of the display Gasquet put on. Out of deference to Haas, we'll just skip the rest.

Today, Gasquet was a rocket, like Laver. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

—Pete Bodo