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Richard Gasquet looks for opportunities to make the final at the 2013 U.S. Open.
Before Richard Gasquet even steps on the court for his semifinal against Rafael Nadal at the 2013 U.S. Open, he must accomplish one simple thing: Do not read the news.
He will never emerge from the locker room if he does.
Andrew Lawrence of Sports Illustrated writes that, "When Nadal's playing this well, it's tough to imagine Gasquet hanging around Queens past Saturday. But if he has to go down, again, he's going down swinging."
ESPN reminds readers that "Nadal never faced a break point [against Ferrer], and through five matches so far in New York this year, he has not lost serve once, a run of 67 games."
With so little hope, or at least so little media support, what is the key to the Frenchman advancing to the finals of the year's last Grand Slam?
It's not what Gasquet himself thinks, as noted in a U.S. Open interview:
And I knew I had to be aggressive. My backhand was working very good today. I think it was the key of the match. I played a lot of down the line, and it work very good. Yeah, for sure I played aggressive. I knew I had to start well, too, and I managed to do that two shots. And when I'm serving great and I have this backhand, I think I can play well.
He believes if those two shots are working, he can win.
That's not true.
Considering the aforementioned statistic concerning Nadal's service games, the key is breaking that serve. It is a simple equation. No service breaks, no win.
According to the stat sheet courtesy of USOpen.org, Gasquet only won 39.7 percent of return points against David Ferrer in his last match. That won't do against Nadal. He will need to be much closer to, if not over, 50 percent to have a chance to win.