Gasquet tops Davydenko, wins Qatar Open
By MICHAEL CASEY
DOHA, Qatar (AP) Richard Gasquet won the Qatar Open for his eight career title on Saturday, coming from a set down to beat Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Having pulled out of the Sydney tournament because of elbow trouble, Gasquet said he will be ready for the Australian Open. The win in Qatar will give him a much-needed boost.
"I'm really happy with the way I won," he said. "I'm confident. When you're winning a tournament like that, it's perfect. I played a lot, so for sure I will be ready for Melbourne."
Davydenko, who struggled with injuries last season, called for the trainer early in the third set for treatment on his hip. In the end, Davydenko blamed his conditioning for the defeat.
"He beat me physically," he said. "He runs very well."
Davydenko led 3-0 in the first set against the 10th-ranked Gasquet, hitting a slew of forehand and backhand winners that kept Gasquet well beyond the baseline and helped neutralize his net play.
In the second set, the 44th-ranked Davydenko saved three break points early and broke Gasquet for 3-2 and had two break chances to go up 4-2. But Gasquet saved them to close to 4-3 and broke to tie it. The set went to a tiebreak and Gasquet outplayed a clearly fatigued Davydenko, who started racking up the unforced errors and losing control of his serve.
In the opening game of the third, Davydenko received about 10 minutes of hip treatment, but was no match for Gasquet. Davydenko broke back to make it 5-3 but the Frenchman broke for a third time when the Russian hit a backhand into the net - his 57th unforced error of the match.
"It's a big success for me," Gasquet told the crowd, which included French expatriates. "I fought a lot because it was very tough and we were both tired. He is so talented and he plays so fast. It was tough for my game, but I managed to win. A lot of good players have won here, Federer, Murray."
Davydenko said the turning point came down to the second set when he failed to convert the two break points that would have put him up 5-2.
"It was maybe was the time where I can say I can win the match," Davydenko said. "But, you know, it's the game. I start to be tired a little bit in the beginning of the second set. Was not so easy. For sure I was thinking 4-3 for me, I can do 5-3 ... But I know I already have no power for tiebreak."
Updated January 5, 2013