Play got underway yesterday afternoon in front of a sparse crowd at Impact Arena with underdogs Danai and Lu taking on fourth seeded Eric Butorac (U.S.A.) and Paul Hanley (Australia) in the doubles finals.
The Thai-Taiwanese duo were in control from the outset of the match, claiming victory in two sets (6-3, 6-4). Although the turnout wasn’t impressive, there was one enthusiastic middle-aged Thai fan clearly and loudly offering his support – if you could call it that – by shouting, “We [Thailand] want the men’s doubles championship”, after every single point.
“We played quite well today. We held serve easily and that helped ease the pressure on us,” said Danai after the win, his first-ever ATP title.
“I felt relieved that I finally did it. I’ve been playing here for ten years and never once thought that I could win a title. I just tried to do my best.”
“Of course, I’m happy, especially that I won it with my friend. It’s good for him (Danai) to win at home. I don’t know any one word that can explain what I feel right now,” added Lu, who racked up a career-second doubles win”.
Just after 3pm, as a few more seats started to fill up, world number 14 Gasquet and world number 20 Simon took to the court in an all-French final. Simon – who was clearly favored by the Thai crowd – came out strong, but quickly dwindled putting forth an unremarkable performance as Gasquet ran the show with his famed one-handed backhand in good form.
Gasquet, who was appearing in the Thaiand Open for the first time, took down Simon 6-2, 6-1, who was bothered by knee trouble. Simon remains winless in his six matches against Gasquet.
“Today was not a good day for me. I wish I could play a better final because I really felt good playing nice tennis through to the final. Richard played a great match. He won many tough matches this week and I think he deserves it. So congratulations to him,” said Simon during the award presentation ceremony.
“It [my knee] was just a bit sore. It just came right before the match. It was harder to push on my leg every time. It’s difficult because you just don’t know when it’s coming. You have to play with it. You don’t know if you push it, is it gonna be worse. It’s tough,” he said.
Gasquet said from the winner’s podium, “It was a very good tournament for me. I’m sorry for Simon that he could not play his best final today.
“People [in Thailand] were all kind with me. The organization was perfect. Also the volunteers. I’m really happy and for sure will come back next year,” he said.
Speaking of Simon, Gasquet added, “He’s a French player and a friend of mine. So it’s a little bit strange with the title I won. I had tough matches this week, so it’s very good to win it. I made comebacks twice this week.”