4 Min Read
* Wawrinka will take on Nadal in quarter-finals
* Gasquet throws away two-set lead for the fifth time
* This match was not for me, says Gasquet
* First French Open quarter-final for Wawrinka (Writes through with quotes)
By Julien Pretot
PARIS, June 3 (Reuters) - Richard Gasquet knew what was coming when the match hit the three-and-a-half-hour mark and Stanislas Wawrinka began breathing down his neck as the local favourite again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at the French Open.
Swiss ninth seed Wawrinka, who will meet seven-times champion Rafa Nadal, prevailed 6-7(5) 4-6 6-4 7-5 8-6 to book his place in the last eight after Gasquet threw away a two-set lead at a major for the fifth time on Monday.
In 2007, Gasquet overcame a two-set deficit at Wimbledon to knock out Andy Roddick in his only grand-slam quarter-final appearance.
The Frenchman then suffered a cruel reversal of fortune, tripping at the last-16 hurdle 11 times.
"I know very well that after three-and-a-half hours I will be a bit tired," Gasquet, who strolled through the previous rounds and was poised to become the only man in the draw to reach the quarters without dropping a set, told a news conference.
"The match was not for me today, simply," the Frenchman said after a four-hour-16-minute dogfight featuring 149 winners and several impressive one-handed backhand exchanges.
"That's all I can do. I can't give more than I gave today. He played such incredible shots. It was incredible."
Wawrinka, who will play his first French Open quarter-final on Wednesday, spent much of the third set ranting after arguing with the umpire and asking him to replace a linesman but said there had been some great tennis midway through the fourth set.
"We played some incredible shots," he said.
"I was still OK (after three-and-a-half hours), still feeling good even though a bit slower."
France are now 3-0 down against Switzerland at this year's French Open after Roger Federer survived a major fright to beat Gilles Simon in five sets on Sunday, having eliminated Julien Benneteau in the third round.
Tension was high on Court Suzanne Lenglen as Gasquet, once dubbed the 'Mozart of tennis' saw off seven break points in his first two service games but held firm until the tiebreak, which he won 7-5 when Wawrinka sent a backhand return into the net.
Wawrinka, who won the Estoril claycourt tournament and reached the Madrid Masters final this year, called on the trainer at the changeover while trailing 3-0 in the second set and had his right thigh massaged.
Gasquet won the set but conceded a break, and perhaps some hope, to Wawrinka, although the Swiss appeared to let it slip when he lost his composure over a few close line calls.
The world number 10 fought back after calling on the umpire to replace a linesman after the third game of the third set.
"The ball's there and he says nothing, he says nothing. Replace him at the next changeover," said Wawrinka.
After the fifth game, Wawrinka shouted at the umpire again as a tournament official came on to the court: "Can you come please? I want to change the guy. How can he say fault?
"I want the next changeover to change. He cannot do that. That's not a small mistake, that's a big, big (mistake)."
Gasquet sought to calm down his opponent, urging him to "take it easy".
Wawrinka continued to fume throughout the third set, which he won with a forehand winner and took the fourth after some poor drop shots from Gasquet, who had just gone past his point of no return.
"I can't anymore, I can't," Gasquet said before the fifth set started, his face a mask of pain.
The Frenchman managed to stay in the contest thanks to sheer talent but Wawrinka eventually nailed it after saving two break points in the 10th game. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond and Sonia Oxley)