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'Heavy' balls make it tough: Gasquet

tennis Updated: Jan 09, 2008 10:27 IST

AFP
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Leading French star Richard Gasquet says he has to adjust to the heavy tennis balls used for next week's Australian Open after his second round exit from the Sydney International on Wednesday.

The world No. 8 and top seed crashed out to the big forehands of Russian 35th-ranked Dmitry Tursunov, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in just over two hours on centre court, giving him two matches of preparation before the year's first grand slam tournament.

Gasquet, a touch player who knocked out Andy Roddick on the way to losing to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of last year's Wimbledon, said he is at a disadvantage hitting the heavier balls on the slower Plexicushion hardcourt surface of the Open.

"It's the wrong ball for the shoulder. You have to be really strong to play with this ball," Gasquet said.

"It's not my game to be really strong. My opponent today can serve 220-225 kph (136-140 mph), but for me, it's really hard. So the (heavy) balls are not good for my game."

Gasquet said he would have to adjust in practice to the heavier Wilson balls being used for next week's Open.

"I will try to play more aggressive than I did today. I was far from the baseline, but it's not easy against him (Tursunov) because he's hitting the ball really hard."

Gasquet, who withdrew from the Adelaide International with knee trouble, said he would be pain-free for the Australian Open, where he reached the fourth round last year.

Tursunov, who leads Gasquet 2-0, will face Sebastien Grosjean in the quarter-finals after the Frenchman beat Spanish eighth seed Fernando Verdasco, 6-3, 6-4.

Veteran Frenchman Fabrice Santoro continued his strong tournament with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis and will next play Russian Evgeny Korolev, who eased past Czech Ivo Minar, 6-2, 6-3.

But Frenchman Gilles Simon went down to Czech fourth seed Tomas Berdych, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, who will face the winner of the all-Australian encounter between sixth seed Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione.