• Berdych, Gasquet battle at BNP Paribas Open

    3/13/13 3:08 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Berdych, Gasquet battle at BNP Paribas Open A high-quality encounter can be expected when Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet take the court on Tuesday in Indian Wells. The two in-form competitors are looking for a place in the quarterfinals.

    Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet will be facing each other for the seventh time in their careers when they meet in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday.

    Gasquet leads the head-to-head series 4-2, having won two in a row. The Frenchman prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 two years ago on the clay courts of Rome before dominating 6-4, 6-2 last summer in Canada. Gasquet has won three of their five hard-court encounters.

    Both players are in stellar form to begin their 2013 campaigns. Berdych boasts a 16-4 record for the season following straight-set victories in Indian Wells at the expense of Mischa Zverev and Florian Mayer. The sixth-ranked Czech is coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes in Marseille and Rotterdam and he also reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

    Whereas Berdych has twice stumbled at the finish line (albeit against tough competition), Gasquet already has two titles to his credit this year--in Doha and Montpellier. The 10th-ranked Frenchman lost early in both Rotterdam and Marseille, but he appears to be back on track with straight-set wins over Bernard Tomic and Jerzy Janowicz. Gasquet is 17-3 for the season.

    With Berdych and Gasquet playing this kind of tennis, it is not unreasonable to expect that this will be the best match of the entire fourth round. The No. 10 seed will benefit from the hard court being on the slower side, but he generally struggles against elite competition while racking up ranking points against opponents whom he is supposed to beat.

    Look for Berdych to win an entertaining affair in three sets.

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