Richard Gasquet needed five match points before beating French countryman Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7) in the first round of the Paris Masters on Monday and setting up a match against top-seeded Roger Federer.
Gasquet was playing at the Bercy indoor arena for the first time since 2007 — the year he last played Federer —and admitted to being greatly troubled by what he called the "extreme" speed of the court.
"It is a very quick (surface), the bounce is low. I played at Basel three days ago and it wasn't the same at all," he said. "I'm glad I got through it. Playing Federer is also nice. It's been a few years."
Gasquet was 18 years old when he beat Federer in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters in 2005. "It seems like another era," said Gasquet, who has lost their other six meetings. "I came from nowhere, I was (ranked) 100th in the world, I beat Federer in the quarters with a passing shot on match point. It was incredible."
After leading 6-3 in the tiebreaker, Gasquet let nerves get the better of him.
"I wanted to avoid another sleepless night. I told myself I had to win, otherwise another defeat would hurt," Gasquet said. "It's obvious I was pretty nervous. A lot of things went through my head when he came back to 6-6."
With French No.1 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, Gasquet has a chance to seal a spot on France's Davis Cup team for next month's final against Serbia.