No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 9 Richard Gasquet will meet in the semifinals of the U.S. Open on Saturday. Gasquet is 0-10 against Nadal and hasn’t even won a set in their last five matches.
But the 27-year-old Frenchman, who is 15 days younger than the Spaniard, does have one big victory over Nadal: at a prestigious under-14 tournament in Tarbes, France, in 1999.
“I didn’t know him when I played him when I was 13 years old,” Gasquet said after defeating David Ferrer in the quarterfinals. “He was already fighting a lot, already running so much. I remember I told my father after, ‘He’s a big fighter.’ I didn’t lie; I was true. He is one of the biggest players in history.”
Gasquet has seen footage from his 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory on YouTube, which is most notable for how quickly the now-tic-laden Nadal plays between points.
“I can see I’m winning against him, so I don’t believe it sometimes,” Gasquet said with a laugh.
Gasquet said it was nice to beat Nadal at the junior tournament but that “it’s better to win on the pro [tour], and I didn’t [in their first 10 matches]. But life is long, huh? We are only 27 years old. So why not? We will see.”