Tuesday’s France – United States match ended at 2-1 for the Blues. Afterwards, Gilles Simon lost in three sets against Tommy Paul (3-6, 6-3, 6-3). Frustrated and irregular, the Niçois will not have the opportunity to face Stan Wawrinka in the second round.
In a meeting where the two players seemed plugged into alternating current, multiplying unforced errors interspersed with a handful of spectacular exchanges, yet it was Simon who struck first. The 59th ATP recovered from a break conceded from the start to catch up to 2-2, before breaking at the best of times to lead 5-3, and converting his third set point.
Simon did not hide his frustration
Unfortunately for Gilles Simon, the American stopped distributing gifts at the end of the second set. The Niçois, who did not hide his frustration – his racquet will testify – once again gave in to 3-2. And Paul, despite some gross faults, including several smashes sent in the corridors, did not have to ask to equalize.
The third round perfectly condensed this bizarre encounter. Simon quickly broke away thanks to several unforced errors from the American to lead 3-0, before collapsing completely. Tommy Paul, he eventually regained his level in the second set, and scored six games in a row against a Frenchman in distress to conclude. Simon screamed his rage in vain at the end of the game: it was Tommy Paul who won the right to face Wawrinka in the next round.
Mannarino in control
Adrian Mannarino was much more consistent on the No.1 court. The penultimate Frenchman competing on Tuesday (before Ugo Humbert and after) won in straight sets and 1h29 of play against Dusan Lajovic (7-6, 6-3), after a close match but perfectly mastered. He will face Yoshihito Nishioka in the second round.
Very solid (he did not concede any break point), almost perfect on the fly, Mannarino was able to bide his time. She could have come 3-2 in the first set; she eventually came in the tie-breaker, started off badly with a mini-break against him, but ended perfectly.
The left-hander seized the opportunity earlier in the second set: after two unconverted break points in the first game, he converted the try to lead 4-2. Before ending quietly, and winning on his first match point by sending a superb return. A good omen before a second lap within his reach before, perhaps, finding Alexander Zverev …