The 36-year-old Richard Gasquet claimed the title at the Adelaide 2 event, stopping the clock and lifting the first trophy since 2018 's-Hertogenbosch. The Frenchman has been dealing with numerous injuries during his career, cracking the top-10 but never lifting a notable trophy.
Born a couple of weeks after Rafael Nadal in 1986, Gasquet was among the young guns to beat in the early 2000s. He cracked the top-200 in 2002 and delivered his first ATP victory at the Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo. The 15-year-old Richard prevailed over Franco Squillari to notch his first ATP triumph and build a solid base for the upcoming years.
The Frenchman has won an ATP match in 22 consecutive seasons, becoming the third player in the Open era to achieve that. Guillermo Vilas accomplished that between 1968 and 1989, and Roger Federer raised the bar to 24 after winning at least one match from 1998 until 2021.
Rafael Nadal missed a chance to join the list before Gasquet, competing for Spain at the United Cup in Sydney and losing both encounters to Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur. Gasquet kicked off the new season in Adelaide and suffered a tight loss to Marcos Giron in the first round.
The Frenchman went to Auckland and beat five rivals to lift the 16th ATP trophy and the first in four and a half years. Richard faced the local player Kiranpal Pannu in the first round and scored a 6-3, 6-1 victory in an hour and 20 minutes.
The veteran produced his best serving ever in an ATP match, dropping three points behind the initial shot and keeping the pressure on the other side.
Richard Gasquet has scored an ATP win in every year since 2002.
Gasquet took half of the return points and grabbed four breaks from eight opportunities to sail into the second round and check his 22nd consecutive season with an ATP win.
The Frenchman beat Joao Sousa to reach the quarter-final and bounced back against David Goffin in sets two and three for a place in the last four. Fellow Frenchman Constant Lestienne gave him a walkover, and Richard preserved energy for the title clash against the crowd's favorite Cameron Norrie.
Gasquet earned a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 triumph in two and a half hours to celebrate the title and gain a boost for the rest of the season.
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