Rafael Nadal is quietly playing out his game. Looking for a 14e title at Roland-Garros, synonymous with 21e Record major, the 34-year-old Mallorcan successfully entered the running on Tuesday 1is June, dominating Alexei Popyrin (63e) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) in 2 h 23. The Australian slugger hit, hit… But Nadal countered, countered. Never in danger in the first round, the Spaniard saved a breakout ball at the start of the second round before rolling out.
The Australian was more pressing in the third set. He got a first break point at 2-1, without being able to transform it. Then, he got two at 3-2 and this time he converted the second to break away 4-2 and 5-2 by confirming his face-off. He then served for the set at 5-3 and got two set points. But he forced his game, his strikes, and ultimately lost not only his two chances, but his service game as well. The Australian then found himself again under enormous pressure from the Spaniard who obtained four break points at 5-5. But Popyrin did not crack and forced Nadal to serve to push the set to the tie-breaker. What he did. The decisive game was one-sided. In the next round, the king of the clay will face the Frenchman Richard Gasquet (53e).
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Richard Gasquet makes short work of Hugo Gaston
Hugo Gaston (141e), surprise eighth-to-finalist of the 2020 edition, will not experience a new epic at Roland Garros. Richard Gasquet (53e) curtly stopped him in the first round in three sets 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 Tuesday. In the second round, Gasquet will face defending champion Rafael Nadal, solid in the first round against Australian Alexei Popyrin.
Seven months ago, during an exceptionally autumnal edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Gaston lit up the Parisian grand slam by offering himself the Swiss Stan Wawrinka in the third round, then pushing until the fifth set Austrian Dominic Thiem in the round of 16. This time, the young Frenchman of twenty lasted barely more than an hour and a half against Gasquet. The Toulousain bowed on a final backhand in the net. Gasquet (34) thus joins Gaël Monfils and Enzo Couacaud, beneficiary of an invitation, in the second round.
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Gaël Monfils beats the clay court specialist
Gaël Monfils (15e world) smile again. In great difficulty for eight months, he offered his second victory of the season in the first round, at the expense of a clay specialist, the Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas (38e). The French number 1, transparent in the first set flew in 23 minutes, finally won in four sets 1-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-4 after three hours in the heat Parisian sun. A small event in itself as Gaël Monfils (34) has been struggling since his return to competition last September after the suspension of the circuit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It all started badly for the 34-year-old Parisian, blowing 6-1 in the first set, in which he won just ten points, not the least behind his second ball, and committed 18 unforced errors for just four winning points. . If he came to a point of ending up behind two sets to zero, when Ramos led 6-5 in the tie-break, the Frenchman gradually settled into the game. And even physically touched – we have often seen him leaning forward, leaning on his racket and apparently out of breath – Gaël Monfils came to the end of it. His second round, against the young Swede Mikael Ymer (105e), is well within its reach.
Pouille and Humbert eliminated
In lack of competition, Lucas Pouille quite logically stalled against the Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas Tuesday in the first round of Roland Garros, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. The Frenchman, 86th in the world, who returned to the circuit in February after an elbow injury and an almost blank season in 2020, had not reappeared on Parisian clay for two years. Facing Cuevas, semi-finalist on the ocher of Geneva on May 21, the Northerner was no match, eliminated in less than 2 hours.
Ugo Humbert (32nd worldwide) also lost in the first round of Roland Garros against Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis (93rd) 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. The French number 1, who played at 22 the 100th game of his career on the main circuit, had a good start in the third set, which he won by taking the service of Berankis twice, but he quickly lost his way. broke in the fourth inning and was never able to come back.