Kooyong Classic: Richard Gasquet forced to withdraw from final with fatigue
Frenchman Richard Gasquet has withdrawn from the final of the Kooyong Classic, citing fatigue.
Last Updated: 10/01/14 12:39pm
The Frenchman has been due to take on Tomas Berdych in Saturday's showpiece but his withdrawal means the Czech star will play what largely amounts to an exhibition match against Japan's Kei Nishikori, who he earlier knocked out of the eight-man event.
Gasquet progressed to the final two when countryman Gilles Simon rolled his ankle and was forced to retire on the eve of the first Grand Slam of the season, which starts in Melbourne on Monday.
Simon turned his right ankle on the first point of the second game of the second set after Gasquet won the first set in 51 minutes, handing the match to his opponent 7-6 (7-4) 1-0.
"It's tough to see a good friend in this condition." said Gasquet, who added that the back problems he felt in previous matches were becoming less of a problem. "I hope the problem won't affect his Australian Open."
Simon was preparing to hit a return when he started hopping in pain and then fell to the court. He got to the sidelines but found that the exhibition event did not have the standard ice and a physio available on court.
The Frenchman used a cold drinks bottle to try and slow the swelling before officials arrived.
After several minutes Simon withdrew and was helped off court, limping.
"It was good to get another match, I need as many of them as possible before the Open. I'm also glad we were able to play in the heat," Gasquet said afterwards.
But later the world No 9 pulled out, opting to rest ahead of the Australian Open where he will start his bid against a qualifier.
Simon, seeded 18 at the Australian Open, faces a race for fitness prior to his first round match against Germany's Daniel Brands.