French men’s tennis will avoid a historic rout. The specter of the absence of any Habs in the round of 16, which would have been an unprecedented disaster in the Open era, dissipated early Wednesday afternoon. There will be at least one Frenchman in the third round, and it is to a very young player that we owe it. Hugo Gaston, who celebrated his 20th birthday last weekend, took the upper hand in four sets (6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2) over the Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka.
Fallen to Félix Auger-Aliassime in the 1st round, Nishioka spent his match getting frustrated with this Gaston, of whom he knew nothing. To have released a seed as FAA to take its feet in the carpet against a player classified in the 239th place in the ATP, there is indeed something to annoy. But the Toulousain, short on legs (1.73m), has a golden left hand and his head is full of ideas. Both instinctive and very consistent in his game plan, he maneuvered beautifully.
Heading for the Stanimal
After leading two rounds to nothing, Hugo Gaston suffered a little worse in the third act, which also coincided with a better quality of service from his opponent. We then feared that this match would be difficult to conclude for Marc Barbier’s protégé, but he quickly reacted by taking Nishioka’s serve once, then twice, to lead 4-1. If he gave up one of his two breaks in advance, the Frenchman immediately re-broke before concluding quietly on his stake.
A little incredulous after his match point, Gaston saw a daydream in this Roland-Garros. With this qualification for the 3rd round, he should be able to integrate the top 200 in the world at the end of this Roland Garros. A simple step, hopefully, for this sparkling tennis boy. To go higher, he will have to sign a much more colossal feat, since he will be opposed to the winner of the 2015 edition, Stan Wawrinka. Undoubtedly the occasion to have for the first time the honors of a major short of Roland-Garros.