At the Accor Arena,
The suspenseful defeat of Richard Gasquet against Tommy Paul (0-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6)) at the end of the evening concluded a first French day as gloomy as the rainy Parisian weather. After a first set delivered to everyone's surprise in 28 minutes 6-0 against the American Tommy Paul, 12th in the world, the veteran Gasquet nevertheless seemed able to save the honor of the French clan at the end of the evening. Good on his legs, offensive and successful at the net, the Biterrois also benefited, it must be said, from the gross errors of the ghostly American in the first act.
But unfortunately for the central Bercy and for the former French number one, the American found better sensations and was heading towards a logical victory by leading 0-6, 6-2, 5-2. This was without counting a heroic end to the match from Gasquet, who in a fiery atmosphere managed two double breaks to get back together and force the American to play a decisive game. The Remontada almost took place. The player invited by the organizers thus obtained three match points and led 6-3 in this tie-break, but cracked when concluding on his last opportunity, with an ugly double fault which revived his opponent on the edge of KO. Two points later, it was Paul who had the last word by taking advantage of a final return that was too long from Gasquet. And despite this heroic end to the match, the Frenchman suffered a fifth defeat in his last five matches. Tough, tough end of season for the 37-year-old “grandpa”…
French number one Adrian Mannarino is definitely cursed at Bercy. The 35-year-old left-hander has only made it past the second round once in thirteen appearances: “I've never had great results at Bercy, it's true,” he whispered after his elimination. But I often lost to stronger players. I think this is one of the first poor performances I've had here. I am very frustrated and very disappointed to lose in the first round. This Monday it was Botic van de Zandschulp who caused him further disillusionment. A defeat (6-4, 7-5) against a player from qualifying and 60th in the world. “It was a bad match. I missed a lot of things, slipped the 25th in the world. I didn't have a good level of service today. I didn't manage to gain enough of an advantage with my forehand and on the backhand there was some waste. I mishandled the important points. However, this is what I have been doing well for three to four months. Not today. That’s a lot for a match of this level.”
Val d'Oisien can harbor regrets. And even if Van de Zandschulp was in the lead throughout the match, there were two breaks for the Habs to return to 3-2, then to 5-4 during the second set. The match could have turned. It was not the case. “When I managed to break the break in the 2nd set the match could have changed. He made a lot of mistakes. He served less well. Suddenly there were gaps but I didn't know how to take advantage of them. At 5-5 in the 2nd set, I tensed up” And the placid Mannarino, once in a while, came off his hinges, notably by smashing a racket in the second set.
The young hopeful Luc Van Assche almost managed a performance against Laslo Djere, 34th in the world. Bankrupt only. He thus led a set and a break (7-6, 3-0) against the Serb, before gradually losing the thread and losing ((6) 6-7, 6-4, 6-4) from his entry into the running after a big fight. More offensive than the 19-year-old Frenchman (31 winning shots against 9 for Van Assche), Djere made his experience speak and the 69th in the world was unable to exploit his rare break opportunities (2 converted out of 9). “It comes down to small details,” said the young Frenchman directly. It's frustrating because I had a lot of chances in the second set with a break lead and in the third I got break points at the end of the match. You have to keep the positive. I had a good attitude from start to finish. My game is in place and rivals a player of this level. And then I won't forget the audience who pushed me from start to finish. I'm happy to have played at Roland-Garros and here in great atmospheres. They are disappointed like me not to have extended this adventure. Van Assche will have to wait until 2024 to obtain his first Masters 1000 victory.
No performance either from Alexandre Müller dominated by the Russian Roman Safiullin, from qualifying (7-6 (4), 6-3), in 1h38. Well pushed by the public of Petit Court 2, the 26-year-old Frenchman, invited by the organizers, saved 9 break points out of 11, but did not exploit his rare break opportunities at the start of the second set. And the last word went to Carlos Alcaraz's Russian opponent on Tuesday evening.
After this Black Monday, four other French players will try to bring a little piece of blue sky to French tennis. Hopeful Arthur Fils will face German Daniel Altmaier. Monfils has a meeting with the Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo. Humbert challenges the American Marcos Giron and Benjamin Bonzi will try to overthrow the Serbian Dusan Lajovic.