Gaël Monfils, 15e world but physically weakened, was eliminated Thursday in the second round of Roland Garros by the Swede Mikael Ymer (105e) 6-0, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Of the 18 French players in the men’s table, only Richard Gasquet can still hope to reach the third round. But for that he will have to beat Thursday at night on the Philippe-Chatrier court and without the support of the public… the master of the place, Rafael Nadal.
Mikael Ymer, 22, had never passed the second round in his first two appearances at the French Open. This time he will face Jannik Sinner (19e) or his Italian compatriot Gianluca Mager (87e) in an attempt to qualify for the round of 16.
“Go take a nap Gaël!” “
That the match lasted 2 hours 24 and was played in four sets is in itself surprising. Judging by the first set and in particular the last points, where Gaël Monfils was unable to defend on an attack from Mikael Ymer before almost letting the set point go without being able to make the necessary adjustment effort, nothing is wrong. foreshadowed that the match would go to the end.
After a first set dropped 6-0 without the slightest fight, the face grimacing, the attitude of resignation, the French number one seemed on the verge of abandonment. “Go take a nap Gaël!” »Even launched a spectator at the change of sides to 5-0.
He did come off the court after the first set. Not for sleeping, but for medical downtime. On his return, his future wife, Elina Svitolina, had taken his place in the stands and, coincidence or not, the Frenchman then began to regain his strength, desire, and energy.
Too many mistakes
He started to score points, to regain confidence. Glances at Svitolina, a few verbal exchanges, smiles, encouragement which again begins to tumble from the stands and here he is again. “It was complicated after the first set because he seemed to be in pain and I didn’t know what to do. I got out of my game plan, ”commented Mikael Ymer.
After 32 minutes, the same duration as the first round, Gaël Monfils equalized with a set everywhere. In the process, he took the service of Mikael Ymer on a shutout and broke 2-0. Unforced errors continued to pollute his game (62 in total, against 27 for Ymer), but resignation gave way to invective: “No Gaël”, he says from time to time.
Led 4-3, the Swede however won six games in a row to pocket the third set and break away 3-0 in the fourth. Gaël Monfils stopped the bleeding with a big forehand (3-1). But Ymer managed another break to lead 5-1 and serve for the match.
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Back to the wall, the French threw all his strength, fought to the end, came back to 5-3, but without succeeding in reversing the course of the match.
Eliminated in the first round last year and in great psychological difficulty, Gaël Monfils has found a little smile this year on the courts of Roland-Garros where he beat in the first round a clay specialist, the Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas (38e), and reveled in the pleasure of feeling an audience behind him.
Djokovic plays his game
Novak Djokovic, he did not drag. The world number 1 needed just over two hours on Thursday to eliminate Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas (92e) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, and qualify for the third round of Roland-Garros.
“Pablo is a clay court specialist, he has a lot of power, he puts a lot of rotation in his shots, but I managed to stay focused”, especially “in the third set where he raised his level of play. It was really difficult for me. So I’m very happy ”to have won, commented, in French, the Serbian on the court just after the match.
Given among the favorites for this tournament, Novak Djokovic does not hide his ambitions, but also does not want to rush. “It may be a cliché to say that we live the games day by day. But it’s really important to stay focused on the moment, not to think about the next opponent. “
“I play with a lot of confidence”
Afterwards, “it’s true that I feel good on the court. I play with a lot of confidence, I serve well, all shots are good. I think my preparation before Roland Garros was very good, so yes, I hope I can stay in this tournament for a long time, ”he concluded.
In the next round, the Serbian will meet an opponent a priori within his reach in the person of Ricardas Berankis, 93e global. The Serbian has won all of his previous encounters against the Lithuanian, including last year in the 2e round of the Parisian grand slam.