the French next to their tennis from the third round

Disappointed, Caroline Garcia leaves the court after her defeat against the Czech Marie Bouzkova, in the Wimbledon tournament, in London, on July 7, 2023.

They were twenty in the first round – sixteen for men, four for women – but no one will see the round of 16. France lost, one by one, all its representatives of the 2023 edition of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, culminating in the defeats, Friday July 7, of Caroline Garcia and Varvara Gracheva in the women’s category, and of Quentin Halys , Alexandre Müller and Adrian Mannarino, in the men’s draw.

Garcia was the last tricolor in the running to be able to qualify, and the world number 5 seemed to have the match in hand against the Czech Marie Bouzkova (33e) that she took to the four corners of the London courts (number 18 then number 1 at nightfall). But with 53 faults, the 29-year-old Lyonnaise wasted far too much to win her opponent who applied himself to commit only fourteen faults.

Fatigue is perhaps not for nothing since the French had already delivered a match of 2 h 31 in the second round on Thursday, concluded in the super-tie break of the third set, and had to continue on her third round on Friday in due to the delay in the programming caused by the rain which disrupted the tournament during the first three days.

On arrival, it was Bouzkova, who had already eliminated Garcia last year but in the round of 16, who moved on to the second week after a success in three sets 7-6 (7/0), 4-6, 7-5.

“In the end, it’s frustrating and sad. The match, I tried to get it, to do things. She’s a girl I’ve never been successful with in the past and I’ve never been this close to winning against her.”said Caroline Garcia. “It hurts, especially since it’s still a match that is not played much that I can’t manage to tip in my favor”lamented the French player who is unable to regain her level of confidence and success from the second part of last year.

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“Last year in these moments, I managed to do great things. This year for the moment it does not work in my favor but it is by continuing that it will work »she concluded.

Gracheva is not far from the feat

Friday started with a bang when Varvara Gracheva, of Russian descent and naturalized French in early June, looked like she could beat world No. 2 Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in a second-round match. Gracheva (41)e) found himself in the game of victory, leading 6-2, 5-4, but the meeting suddenly tipped in favor of his opponent.

Sabalenka then won seven points in a row to equalize at 5-5 and afford three break points on the French serve. She converted the second and served at 6-5 to take the game into a third set. In this decisive set, she took the service of Gracheva to lead 2-1 and fly to victory with the score of 2-6, 7-5, 6-2.

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“It was crazy… She played incredibly well and I’m very happy to have won”said Aryna Sabalenka, semi-finalist in 2021 and banned from the tournament last year because of her nationality and the war in Ukraine.

Medvedev and Alcaraz enforce logic

Less close to the feat, Quentin Halys (79e), who reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, can nevertheless boast of being the first to have taken a set from the Italian Jannik Sinner (8e) on the London turf this year. But last year’s quarter-finalist turned things around and won 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.


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“I proved that against one of the best I could be at the level”noted Halys. “It will boost confidence and give me ideas for going to work”he added.

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The step was however too high for Adrian Mannarino (35e), in the second round against Daniil Medvedev (3e), and for Alexandre Müller (84e), also in the second round, against the world number 1, Carlos Alcaraz.

In a match started the day before and interrupted by the night at 6-3, 6-3, 4-4 for Medvedev, Mannarino seemed able to push his opponent a little more to his limits on the restart. “When he plays well, he plays at Top 5 level, but sometimes he misses easy shots. So I’m happy to have won in three sets.”commented the 27-year-old Russian who finally won 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).

Müller was logically dominated by Alcaraz. “I won my first match here, I had a good match on the Central against the world number 1… All is well”, listed the Frenchman. He hung on but couldn’t prevent Alcaraz from winning for the first time in his career on the legendary Center Court, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.

“It was my second match on this court where I lost last year. I wanted to take advantage of it and I did”said the 20-year-old Spaniard, who does not hide his ambitions to win the tournament.

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Djokovic in search of a new record

Novak Djokovic, in search of a 24e Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s absolute record, does not see it that way and qualified for the round of 16 by dominating the Swiss Stan Wawrinka (88e) 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5). After very quietly winning the first two sets, the Serb was hooked in the third and concluded just minutes before the 11pm curfew came into effect. He got out in time and will face the Pole Hubert Hurkacz (18e) for a place in the quarter-finals.

With this success, Djokovic landed a 31e straight win at Wimbledon, since losing in the quarterfinals in 2017. He has since gone unbeaten with four consecutive titles. A fifth, on July 16, would allow her to equal the record of eight Wimbledon titles held by Roger Federer, one length from the absolute record of Martina Navratilova.

The World with AFP


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