Player Assessment #8 and #7

#8 Richard Gasquet
Gasquet did his job this year and turned around the mixed and salty 2006. Last year he had some good results, reached the final at Rogers Cup, 4th round in USO and got himself three titles. This year was a no turning back trip for Gasquet. He never managed to pull off the big results, but slowly and steady climbed from 18 to 8 with consistent OK results.
Highlights include final in Estoril, SF in Wimbledon after failing to defend his Nottingham title.
This fall he actually was a top quality player winning in Mumbai, reaching the final in Tokyo a week later and making it to the SF in Paris, only to lose against Nalbandian who was the best of the best that tournament. This great fall, in addition to a strong SF performance in Wimbledon sent him into the top 10 and to Shanghai. Has to be mentioned that he mangaged to beat world #2 and 3 in a few days, playing very well.
Ranking: 18 to 8, topping out at 7
Titles: 1
W-L: 49-24 (67.1%)
Grade: B

#7 Fernando Gonzalez
How great was this guy in January?! From R32 in AO there was no stopping Gonzo! I think from the way he moves and hits the balls, the rebound ace surface was probably optimal speed and bounce. If not optimal, close to. He was 10 at New Year’s eve, shot up to 5th after the brilliant show in Melbourne. Then thing kind of slowed down. IW and Miami was not impressive and clay season started out with two first round exits. He was able to bounce right back to get some impressive wins in Rome and reach the final only to get brutally beaten by Nadal.
Same procedure in Hamburg, same opponent.

French Open is still a mystery to me. Why he lost 2, 2, and 4 against Stepanek is hard to understand. From all I know, he wasn’t injured or anything. Yes Stepanek is a good player, but those numbers on clay makes little sense.
Then grass treated him with some close matches at the Queen’s club and Wimby.

Starting US open series he was still 6th best and was ready to make a good run on the HCs.
The problem was until Bejing in mid September, Gonzalez was 0-4. The reason he made Shanhai was actually not Aussie Open final, rather winning Beijing. Had he continued losing in 1st and 2nd rounds Shanghai spot would have been history.
He sort of ended the year with some magic. Lost to Roger in Melbourne, then taught him the game of forehand in Shanghai. Had he just done something against Roddick and Davydenko as well… This just proves how important consistency is in tennis. His name would have been all over the place had he been able to take Roddick. Oh well… better luck next time.
Ranking: 10 to 7 (not bad really, topping out at 5)
Titles: 1 (0 last year)
W-L: 37-24 (60.65%) this should’ve been higher!
Grade: C+ (+ for Aussie Open)



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