black day for French players


The most significant defeat is that of the defending champion (in 2019 during the last edition) Lucas Pouille…

The most significant defeat is that of the defending champion (in 2019 during the last edition) Lucas Pouille, beaten by the Uruguayan qualifier Martin Cuevas (30 years old, 414th) in three sets (4-6, 6-3, 7- 6 [7-5]). The Northerner failed to confirm his good performance last week at the Masters 1000 in Madrid, where he got the better of Russian Karen Khachanov (26th in the world) then lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas despite a solid match, fifth in the world and titled in Monte-Carlo in April.

Like his compatriot Richard Gasquet the day before, Lucas Pouille had nevertheless had the first opportunity to conclude the match: a match point in the last set, at 6-5 on his opponent’s service, well saved by a big first ball by the lesser known of the Cuevas brothers (his brother Pablo is also in the picture).

Verdasco ships Gaston

The Frenchman entered the game well, solid on his serve and relying on his forehand to dominate the first set, after a less good service game from his opponent at 5-4. In the second set, Pouille had a fright at the start, saving two break points on his first service game. But the penalty came a few games later at 4-3, at the worst of times for the 2019 winner, after a smash sent into the net then a bad choice on the fly resulting in a winning pass from Cuevas, before the Uruguayan conclude with a perfect service game.

In the last round, it was once again Cuevas who took the lead by breaking the native of Grande-Synthe (3-1). But with courage, and carried by the encouragement of the Bordeaux public, Lucas Pouille came back up (3-3) after a game of more than ten minutes concluded on his fifth break point. The two men needed a last decisive game to decide between themselves, concluded by a volley of forehand in the net from Lucas Pouille, like a symbol.

Scheduled for an “aperitif session” after the meeting with Lucas Pouille, the highlight of this beginning of the week, the poster long awaited by the spectators, the left-handed duel between Hugo Gaston and Fernando Verdasco only had a shock on name. The 21-year-old Toulouse boy, who still seemed in trouble with his injured wrist in Munich a fortnight ago, did not exist against the 38-year-old Spanish veteran, clay court specialist, who endorsed the debates in a little over an hour (6-2, 6-2).

The Madrid player dictated his game with his topspin forehand and his backhand, forcing Hugo Gaston to defend and wipe from the baseline. Apart from a retro backhand drop volley in the second set which made the public stand up and try to give him a new dynamic, he failed to put his game in place, notably missing his drop shots of which he has the secret . A missed date for Hugo Gaston, who should however participate in the doubles tournament, just like Lucas Pouille.

Bonzi last hope?

Earlier in the day, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, double winner of Roland-Garros in doubles with Nicolas Mahut, fell against the local of the stage Elliot Benchetrit. In front of his club and his friends, the resident of Villa Primrose, who lives and plays for Morocco with a view to the Paris Olympics in 2024, won in three sets (3-6, 7-6 (7 -3), 6-4) after a quality match. At the same time, the Frenchman from the qualifications Calvin Hemery (27 years old, 336th) had come very close to the feat, losing in the decisive game of the last set against (6-7 [5-7]6-3, 7-6 [7-4]) the American and former world No. 8, Jack Sock.

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