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Gasquet, Tsonga To Clash In Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Gasquet© Getty ImagesRichard Gasquet reached the fourth round in Melbourne for the second straight year.

World No. 10 Richard Gasquet advanced to the fourth round of a major tournament for the fifth consecutive time on Saturday, topping Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-0. The Frenchman is now a perfect 8-0 on the season.

The ninth seed hit 10 aces and won 55 of his 63 first serve points. After taking the third set tie-break, Gasquet ran away with the fourth set, breaking the Croat three times to clinch the victory in two hours and 25 minutes. The two were meeting for the first time.

“The third set was the key of the match, and I think in the fourth he was a little bit tired,” Gasquet said.  “But I fought as much as I could, and played well. At the end of the match, I played better.”

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Gasquet has equalled his best result at Melbourne Park, moving through to the round of 16 for the second year in a row and fourth time overall. He is just 1-13 in fourth-round major matches, with his lone win coming at Wimbledon in 2007; he went on to reach the semi-finals. Gasquet began the season by winning his eighth ATP World Tour title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (d. Davydenko).

For a place in the quarter-finals, Gasquet faces compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The No. 7 seed defeated Blaz Kavcic 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in just 79 minutes. Tsonga was efficient with his return, capitalising on seven of his nine break points against the Slovenian. Kavcic was appearing in the third round of a major for the first time.

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“I played a better match,” Tsonga said. “I mean, it was not easy because it was really windy today and not easy to feel the ball really well. So I'm happy to go through this one in three sets.”

Tsonga improved to 22-6 in Melbourne, highlighted by his runner-up finish to Novak Djokovic five years ago. The eighth-ranked Tsonga is 3-4 against Gasquet, but the two have not squared off since 2009. Tsonga won their most recent encounter in Tokyo.

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