He had never completed a lap in Masters 1000 so far. And so it was in Rome, on clay, that Ugo Humbert averted fate. Sacred irony of fate for this striker, fond of fast courts, indoors, on hard outdoors or on grass where he reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2019. Messin was the blue light of a gloomy week for the French tennis marked by the forfeits of Lucas Pouille and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (whose season has ended) for Roland-Garros, as well as by the entry defeat of Gaël Monfils on Thursday.
After a disappointing American tour – only one victory in the 1st round of the US Open against Yuichi Sugita – the questioning was quick. Accompanied by his mother, unwavering support in the empty stands of Foro Italico, he perfectly exploited the opportunities left by his table, regardless of the surface. “I take more pleasure. I have never won many matches on clay. There the state of mind was a little different. I was convinced that I could also win matches on this surface, have a little more confidence in myself and there I had a blast on this tournament. This is really the positive point“, estimated the 42nd player in the world in the form of a balance sheet in comments reported by The team.
Humbert keeps his feet on the ground
The air of nothing, Humbert will have hung two “names” of the circuit on his hunting board. First he dominated a Kevin Anderson admittedly down to 119th place in the world, but whose canon service would have frustrated more than one. Then, he offered himself a top 20 in the person of Fabio Fognini, a great specialist in ocher. Here again, the scope of this success should be put into perspective as the Italian was far from his best level, he who has just returned from an operation on both ankles. But Messin could have flinched when, after serving for the match, he saw his opponent come back to height in the second set.
Instead, Humbert concluded the deal with authority in the tie-break. “I rather won my first two matches mentally than with my tennis and today (Friday), that was not enough“, he remarked with lucidity. Because he is not the type to indulge in complacency. The left-hander has his feet on the ground, and he knows it, facing Denis Shapovalov, he does not did not take enough initiatives to achieve the feat, even though he held the 14th player in the world in check for a long time.
“I am really not satisfied with my level. I am very passive, I am far from my line, I do not offer much. From time to time I manage to keep up with my serve but I am aware that the level is not very good“, he insisted, as if to make sure not to rest on his laurels. If it is a physical decline that has cost Humbert dear in the second set, the Frenchman knows that if he wants to progress on crushed brick, he will have to find a way to impose his offensive tennis more often and to play on his strength. It is at this price that he could hope to pass a few laps (or even a second week if the draw allows it?) of the next to the Porte d’Auteuil where the chances of the French are not legion.