Gasquet, Lopez to square off for Group A's semifinal spot at UTS2

Gasquet, Lopez to square off for Group A's semifinal spot at UTS2

The two will battle it out next Saturday in a winner-take-all situation after both improved to 2-0 on Sunday.

Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez will battle it out next Saturday for a winner-take-all semifinal berth at UTS2 after both improved to 2-0 in Group A on Sunday.

Gasquet, a semifinalist in the inaugural Ultimate Tennis Showdown tournament, has been on a tear this weekend, winning seven of the eight quarters he’s played. After shutting out Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday, the Frenchman defeated Alexei Popyrin, 15-13, 19-9, 12-16, 13-10.

The encounter finished with a touch of controversy. With the Australian trailing 9-10 in the fourth quarter, Gasquet played his serve and volley card, forcing the 21-year-old to follow the tactic on his next service point. Popyrin took his opponent’s return with a half volley just behind the T, but did not continue moving forward. After watching Gasquet charge in, Popyrin retreated to the baseline to line up a forehand, but was ruled to have not met the conditions of the card.

“Why are you talking?,” Popyrin yelled to the chair umpire. “It’s a serve and volley. It’s direction to the net. It doesn’t matter what I do next.”



From Gasquet’s point of view, the rule was correctly enforced. “I think he didn’t come to the net,” he assessed afterwards.

Lopez denied Dimitrov’s bid to win his first match at the event, holding off the Bulgarian in sudden death. There, Dimitrov double-faulted with the match on the line, handing Lopez the 17-10, 14-15, 12-16, 16-12, 2-0 win. The lefty will aim to avenge his July 5 loss to Gasquet, who prevailed in sudden death.

In Group B, Dustin Brown won the point of the day in sudden death, pulling off a forehand dive volley to upstage Corentin Moutet, 18-12, 13-17, 13-14, 19-9, 3-1. With Fernando Verdasco topping Benoit Paire, 17-13, 19-11, 17-14, 12-20, in the day's final clash, all four players will be in contention to get through to the final four on August 1.