Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka returns the ball to Spain's Nicolas Almagro during their match at the Paris Masters tennis, in the Paris Bercy stadium, Thursday Oct. 31, 2013.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Thursday, October 31, 2013 6:09 pm
Wawrinka, Gasquet book last 2 ATP Finals spots
By TRUNG LATIEULEAssociated Press
Raonic needed at least a runner-up finish in Paris to have a chance to qualify for the London tournament next week, which features the top eight players. This will be Wawrinka's first appearance; Gasquet also qualified in 2007.
"It was more difficult for me to qualify this time than six years ago," Gasquet said. "It was tough for me to come back, and today I believe the tennis is at a very high level. I played a lot better than six years ago."
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and Berdych had already assured their spots before playing in Paris. Andy Murray also qualified but withdrew from the event to recover from back surgery.
Roger Federer made the tournament for a 12th straight year by defeating Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the second round Wednesday. Federer was happy to see both Wawrinka and Gasquet join him.
"Since Richard has a one-handed backhand, I like it. I like to see one-handed backhands in the Masters," a smiling Federer said about one trait he shares with Wawrinka and Gasquet.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion was not surprised by Wawrinka's good season.
"Physically we know how tough he is," Federer said of his Swiss compatriot. "I think it was important for him mentally to show the players and the press, I guess, and the critics, that he can hang tough with the best guys and do it on all surfaces."
Wawrinka won the Portugal Open and had three runner-up finishes while Gasquet clinched three titles this year. They also both reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open.
"Going to London is not a normal thing," Wawrinka said. "You need to have an exceptional year. This year I had very good results to be able to compete for this. What changed this year is that I really tried to enjoy my victories more."
Wawrinka beat Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in Paris on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals while Gasquet defeated Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 6-2.