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By Tennis Now | Friday, July 20, 2018

Richard Gasquet

Fifth-seeded Fernando Verdasco will face third-seeded Fabio Fognini for a spot in the Båstad final.

Photo credit: SkiStar Swedish Open

Richard Gasquet ended Casper Ruud's inspired run to reach the Båstad semifinals.

The fourth-seeded Frenchman knocked out the Norwegian wild card, 7-6 (4), 6-2, to surge into his fourth semifinal of the season.

Watch: 5 Reasons Novak Djokovic Can Be GOAT

Gasquet, who defeated Jeremy Chardy to capture the 's-Hertogenbosch title on grass last month, continues his quest for a 16th career title, and first clay-court crown since he won the 2015 Estoril.

The 32-year-old Gasquet will face either Italian qualifier Simone Bolelli or Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen for a spot in Sunday's final. 

Serving at 4-5, 15-30, Gasquet withstood Ruud's threat guessing right on a forehand pass and knocking off a volley.

Elevating his play in the tie break, Gasquet burst out to a 5-1 lead. A crosscourt forehand set up a backhand down the line for set point.

Gasquet closed the set rifling a forehand down the line.

The 19-year-old Ruud played a positive first set, but sometimes ran into shot selection issues. Flattening out his forehand down the line, Ruud sometimes played that shot too flat and found the top of the tape.

On Gasquet's second match point, he closed when the Norwegian netted a forehand down the line.

"Tough match, you know, Casper is a very good player," Gasquet said. "I think he had some chances in the first set. If he's doing the first set it's another match. I feel more confident after that. I think I played well because he's a very good player."

In an all-Spanish quarterfinal clash, Fernando Verdasco saved all six break points he faced dismissing second-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-4, 6-2.

It is Verdasco's first win over the world No. 13 since a 7-5, 6-3 conquest in the 2014 
Båstad quarterfinals.

“I think I played my best match so far in Bastad,” said Verdasco. “I knew it was going to be a really difficult match, as Pablo beat me in Miami this year and also in Basel a couple of years ago."

Bidding for his third trip to the tournament final, the fifth-seeded Verdasco will face Fabio Fognini in tomorrow's semifinals.

The 15th-ranked Italian eliminated Federico Delbonis, 6-4, 6-3, to continue his drive toward a seventh career title.

The 33rd-ranked Verdasco has won four of six meetings with Fognini, including winning all three of their prior clay-court clashes.


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