|Richard Gasquet of France practices his sensational one-handed|
backhand at Indian Wells in 2014. Photo by Paul Bauman
Up one minute, down the next.
Richard Gasquet, the top seed and defending champion, pulled off perhaps the comeback of the year to defeat Brown 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Open Sud de France.
Brown, a 31-year-old German qualifier playing in his first ATP World Tour semifinal, bolted to a 6-1, 3-0 lead in 35 minutes.
The 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Brown had 27 winners at that stage and finished with 17 aces.
Last year, Brown defeated former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon on Centre Court and lost to then-No. 419 Sekou Bangoura in straight sets in the first round of the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger.
Two weeks after the Tiburon loss, Brown advanced to the final of the $50,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger. He lost to U.S. sensation Taylor Fritz, who was 17 years old at the time.
Gasquet, 29, became the eighth active player to reach 25 tour-level finals. He will play 34-year-old countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu, who held off 18-year-old Alexander Zverev, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) German, 7-6 (11), 7-5.
Women's Challenger in Midland, Mich. -- CiCi Bellis, a 16-year-old amateur from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, reached her first Challenger doubles final.
Wild cards Bellis and Ingrid Neel, 17, of Rochester, Minn., edged third-seeded Nicole Gibbs of Marina del Rey and Taylor Townsend of Atlanta 3-6, 6-3 [10-6] in the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic.
Gibbs won the 2012 NCAA doubles crown with Stanford teammate Mallory Burdette.
Bellis and Neel, who routed top-seeded Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez in the quarterfinals, will face second-seeded Naomi Broady of Great Britain and Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C.
Broady, 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters), and Rogers crushed Americans Lauren Davis and Grace Min 6-0, 6-0 in 38 minutes.
Fed Cup in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii -- The United States coasted to a 2-0 lead over Poland in World Group II.
Sloane Stephens defeated Magda Linette 6-2, 6-4, and Venus Williams beat Paula Kania 7-5, 6-2.
Williams, 35, has won the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford twice (2000 and 2002) and reached the final seven times.
Kania and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic advanced to the doubles final at Stanford in 2014, losing to Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro.
Williams will try to clinch the best-of-five-match series for the United States in today's first match against Linette.
Top-ranked Serena Williams of the United States and No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland skipped this weekend's competition.
The winner will advance to the World Group playoffs in April for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title in 2017.
Men's Challenger in Dallas -- In an all-British matchup, second-seeded Kyle Edmund, 21, outclassed unseeded Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-2 to win the $100,000 RBC Tennis Championships.
Both players helped Great Britain win its first Davis Cup championship in 79 years in 2015.
Edmund reached the semifinals of the $100,000 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger last August before losing to eventual champion John Millman.
Evans, only 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters), held a championship point before losing to former Stanford All-American Bradley Klahn in the 2013 Aptos final.
Klahn, a 25-year-old left-hander, hopes to return to competition soon after undergoing surgery for a herniated disc for the second time.
ITA Women's Team Indoors in Madison, Wis. -- No. 6 Cal defeated No. 7 Virginia 4-1 to reach the semifinals of the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship.
The Bears (4-0) will meet No. 16 Ohio State, which stunned No. 1 and reigning NCAA champion Vanderbilt 4-3.