Frenchman Richard Gasquet saw off a hard-working Nikolay Davydenko in an entertaining match, 7-6(3) 6-4 6-4, on an outside Show Court Two on Wednesday.
Russian, Davydenko, who came into this year’s Australian Open ranked 61s stormed to a 5-2 lead in the opening set.
But faced at set point, ninth seed Gasquet, who has won five of their seven head-to-head matches and their two meetings in Grand Slam tournaments, both without dropping a set, calmly drove a backhand return winner down the line, and soon broke serve to stay alive at 5-3.
Two more winners flowed in the ninth game and soon Davydenko was pressing, and missing. Gasquet would ultimately win four games on the trot to lead 6-5, and although Davydenko forced the set into a tiebreak, Gasquet was never threatened.
Davydenko made several errors as Gasquet ensured ensured he maintained his dominance over his opponent who won the 2009 ATP World tour finals.
The Russian failed in his bid to pull off the shot of the tournament in the second set when Gasquet lunged to reach his unexpected forehand shot and picked off an incredible angled backhand volley winner.
Gasque broke serve to love in the seventh game after, after claiming the second set with a delightful volley winner into the corner. Three games later, he belted a backhand winner and an ace on his way to sealing victory in two hours and 20 minutes.