PARIS: Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut recovered from a slow start to beat home hope Richard Gasquet 7-6(5) 6-2 6-1 and reach the second round of the French Open on Tuesday.
Bautista Agut, the 10th seed, came into the first-round match against Gasquet on Court Simonne Mathieu with a 6-2 lead in their head-to-head encounters but their ninth meeting was the first on clay.
The early signs hinted at an upset win for the 34-year-old Gasquet as he raced into a 5-2 lead with three breaks of serve.
Yet a cool and composed Bautista Agut clawed his way back into the match to force a tiebreak and took the opening set as the errors from the 50th-ranked Gasquet continued to mount.
Gasquet, who reached a career-high ranking of number seven in 2007, did not manage another break of Bautista Agut’s serve as the Spaniard broke his five more times over the next two sets.
Bautista Agut, who became a father this month, wrapped up the match in under two hours when Gasquet, who failed to advance to the second round at his home Grand Slam for the first time in 10 years, netted a return.
Gasquet was not keen on engaging in long rallies with the Spaniard and made 49 unforced errors, 30 more than his opponent, while managing to hit 13 more winners.
In the second round, Bautista Agut will play Hungarian Attila Balazs, who earlier defeated Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-2 6-3 7-5.