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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Rafael Nadal gets company on notable ranking milestone

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A month ago, Rafael Nadal became the second player behind Roger Federer with 1000 consecutive weeks in the top-100. Nadal’s coeval Richard Gasquet had a chance to follow the Spaniard’s pace after entering the top-100 in September 2003!

However, the Frenchman struggled with injuries in the next couple of seasons before establishing himself as a top-100 player again in the spring of 2005. This week, Gasquet celebrates a massive ranking milestone, becoming the second active player with 900 consecutive top-100 weeks behind Nadal!

The 36-year-old Frenchman has been ranked outside the top-50 since April last year. He had a couple of challenging weeks in his quest to remain in the top-100 and extend his streak. Richard passed them and wrapped up the year in the top-70 after a 26-19 score on the Tour.

The veteran kicked off the season at the Australian Open and lost in the second round.

Richard Gasquet is the second active player with 900 consecutive top-100 weeks.

He was the quarter-finalist in Montpellier, Marrakech and Estoril before embracing the semi-final run in Geneva.

The Frenchman reached the third round at Wimbledon and scored three victories in Winston-Salem ahead of the US Open. Gasquet met his old rival Nadal in the third round in New York, with Rafa scoring a 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 victory in two hours and 17 minutes.

Rafa beat Richard for the 18th time in as many encounters, winning 34 consecutive sets against his coeval! The Spaniard saved six out of seven break points and kept the pressure on the other side. Nadal controlled the pace with 35 winners and 23 unforced errors and grabbed over half of the return points to notch seven breaks from 15 opportunities and bring the victory home.

Gasquet fought well in the third set, but it was not enough to keep him in contention after experiencing a late break. That result was enough to keep Richard in the top-100, and he earned the Davis Cup victories for France later in September.

Gasquet embraced a busy indoor swing in the season’s closing stages to secure a year-end top-70 spot. Richard’s second ATP semi-final of the season came in Antwerp, playing well to beat Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Stricker and David Goffin.

He fell to Felix Auger-Aliassime in two tie breaks and missed a chance to play in his first ATP final since Umag last year. Gasquet wrapped up the season at the home Masters 1000 event in Paris, beating Alex Molcan before falling to world no. 4 Casper Ruud. Richard will start the 2023 season in Adelaide before kicking off his 16th Australian Open.

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