In a match in which Richard Gasquet showed why he will never come close to a grand-slam title and Andy Murray allowed a glimpse of why he might, the Scot obliterated the mercurial Frenchman 1-6 6-4 6-1 6-2 in the fourth round of the French Open.
With his narrow shoulders and low body, Gasquet looks like an overgrown dwarf. But for 30 minutes, he played giant tennis. The Frenchman came out swinging, dictating play with outrageous angles on his backhand and landing some unanswerable dropshots that simply died in the dirt.
In temperatures that barely reached the mid-teens and backed by a mildly partisan Parisian crowd of around 27 hardy souls, Gasquet mixed groundshots with smart sorties to the net. As Murray fell to a 6-1 deficit, he was being bested on serve and in both the forecourt and backcourt.
As the second set kicked off and the slate was wiped clean, the fourth seed stepped up to the white line and began dictating play. He surged to a 4-2 lead, only to be pegged back by some fierce, untamed backhands roaming wild close to the Bois de Boulogne.Read more (278 words)
Gasquet struck back with stunning court coverage to level at 4-4. The British number one survived game points to hold for 5-4 and the pressure was on the Frenchman.
Pressure has been about the only bedfellow Gasquet has ever turned down. But this was the new Gasquet, the one who'd extinguished the flame of red-hot talent Dimitrov in round two and recorded two bagels against Tommy Haas in round three.
As Gasquet skied a fluffy smash, dumped a forehand halfway up the net and double-faulted to gift Murray the set, we were reminded that the Frenchman is still as flaky as the 48-pack that Mr Whippy keeps in his vans to top off his 99s.
From here, it was plain sailing. When it didn't matter, Gasquet was brilliant. When it did, he went missing. Murray was allowed free rein with his shotmaking, executing a delightful array of lobs, dropshots and geometric backhands that put the man from Beziers into a lethal tailspin.
With Gasquet showing the competitive edge of a diced courgette, the number four seed surged to victory with some virtuoso hitting rewarded by the paltriest of handclaps.
On a windy, chilly, testing day on Court Philippe Chatrier, tennis was one of the few things that Gasquet didn't fancy, and he reminded his exasperated followers why the Richard Gasquet Foundation aims to help adolescents who struggle to find their place in society and who suffer from a lack of confidence.
Conversely, the Murray camp will be buoyant as the Scot fights for a semi-final berth against David Ferrer. The Spaniard is unquestionably top-four material on clay and has conceded just 25 games to date in these fascinating championships.