Goffin returns to the semifinals after over a year. Gasquet stops

[Q] E. Ruusuvuori b. [LL] O. Oct 6-4 6-3 Paolo Di Lorito

For the sixth time in his career Emil Ruusuvuori passes the first round in a Masters 1000, the first on clay. The Finnish No. 81 of the world, after passing the qualifiers in which he eliminated the two Italians Mager and Cobolli, he won today against Oscar Otte, fished out after Garin’s retirement. Ruusuvuori will continue his personal challenge against the Azzurri players also in the second round where will face Jannik Sinner. The two recently met in Miami where they gave life to a highly spectacular match, solved by the South Tyrolean only in the third set after having canceled three match points. Overall, the No. 9 is 3-1 ahead in previous matches with Emil, but they have never played on clay.

The German’s proactive style towards the net, on this day conditioned by the strong wind, immediately begins to show its weaknesses at least on a surface like this: a couple of very effective forehand passers by Ruusuvuori bring the latter forward by a break at the opening of the match. The games with Otte at bat are always the hardest fought, and after risking a heavier passive, Ruusuvuori solidly wins the first set 6-4 in an hour of enjoyable but not excellent tennis. The little incidence that the service has in this match also emerges in the second set where there are even five breaks in the first six games; both players prefer a slightly more wait-and-see position at this point e the greater skill with the bottom shots inevitably rewards Ruusuvuori who with the decisive break in the ninth game signs the deserved victory for 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 44 minutes.

D. Evans b. [LL] B. Bonzi 6-0 7-6 (4) Matteo Beltrami

The game opens with the Frenchman serving, the wind on the central court raises eddies of earth forcing players to face an uncomfortable opponent. The Englishman immediately breaks the service at the opening; right from the start, Evans insists on Bonzi’s right side, often finding him unprepared. The Frenchman seems not very centered and is also broken in the second serving: 3-0 after 11 ‘of play. Evans, for his part, appears well framed from the bottom and continues to find easy points thanks to the free of charge of the opponent (The last one reads 16-5 in favor of the Englishman after 4 games). The fifth game is fought, but once again on the fourth break point the Birmingham native breaks Bonzi’s serve, subsequently closing the practice of the first set with a 6-0 round in 30 minutes of play.

The second set opens with a couple of splendid backhand passers by Evans, but Benjamin Bonzi doesn’t give up and wins the first game of the match. In the meantime the wind intensifies and with him the game of the Frenchman who seems more on the ball in this beginning of the second set, thanks to a good performance in the service. After a beautiful backhand down the line that takes Evans off guard, Bonzi wins his first two break points which he converts at the first opportunity; after having taken his turn to serve, the score is 3-0 for the Frenchman. Evans struggles to find the ball in response and perhaps bothered by the wind slips under 4-1. In the seventh game Bonzi saves two balls from the counter break but can do nothing on the third: 4-3 Bonzi. The Briton realizes the recovery and brings the set back in a draw: 4-4. The following games are dominated by whoever is batting, the game is delivered to the tie-break. Ready to go and Evans maneuvers well from the baseline taking 3-1; the Frenchman fails to affect and is too vulnerable on the forehand side, he turns 4-2. The Englishman dares to take the right risks, he wins 3 match points but the first is canceled by the courage of Bonzi. The second is what counts and the British closed the tie-break 7-4 by closing the practice 6-0 7-6 in 1 hour 39 minutes of play. The Frenchman paid too many free 32, now for Evans the winner of the match between Goffin And Lehečka.

P. Martinez b. U. Humbert 6-4 7-6 (5) Cipriano Colonna

On Court 2, the third most important field of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters after Campo Ranieri III and Campo dei Principi, today’s program is opened by the first round challenge of the lower part of the board between the Spaniard Pedro Martinez (No. 45 ATP) and the French Ugo Humbert (No. 48 ATP). No precedent between the two players, who face this first round of the European season on clay with a completely opposite path. On the one hand, the Iberian tennis player, who has already collected 10 appearances for red in 2022, participating in all four events of the Golden Swing with a very positive balance of 7 wins and only 3 defeats. Within the seven statements, there is also the row of 5 hits lined up in the latest event on the Latin American chopped brick; thanks to which the 24-year-old from Alzira pocketed the first title of his career in the major circuit in Santiago, surpassing the Argentine Sebastian Baez in the final act of the Chilean “250”. On the other hand, however, the 23-year-old from Metz has chosen a programming at the antipodes, preferring fast indoor during the month of February. The N. 2 of France, however, tested positive at Covid in Australia and consequently never managed to find a state of at least acceptable form. So much so, that in this 2022 he has collected only 2 wins compared to 7 knockouts (7 in the last 8 matches played). In addition, the first of the two games won came in the season debut in the ATP Cup, when surprisingly he defeated the n. 2 of the world Daniil Medvedev. That result represented a drop of water in the middle of an arid desert, since after it Humbert ran into a negative streak of six consecutive lost matches interrupted only with the victory against Bedene in Florida. So the moment with which, the left-handed ex n. 25 of the ranking was preparing to start his own campaign on red, moreover on the surface where he expresses himself worst, he was nothing short of black.

THE MATCH – The beginning of the match fully certifies the period of low confidence that the talented tennis player is going through blue, who gets the bar torn at the opening of the match. Even Martinez, however, is a bit too packed – despite the fact that he can leverage on very sweet and very recent memories of red – his first turn of service and therefore the counter-break arrives on time. The challenge continues, after the first two games had already decided on the advantages, with three more games won to the bitter end and a further three breaks in the remaining eight games of the set. The last, the decisive one, is a Spanish brand. Consequently it is Martinez who pocketed a very intense first set for 6-4 after 58 minutes of the game. The huge number of games ended at the advantages, as many as 5 with even 4 in the first four games, suggests that both have not been able to derive much (to put it mildly) from their fundamental starting game. In fact, going through the statistics, it is revealed that no. 45 won only 58% of points with the first and 45% with the second. Numbers not at all flattering, were it not that his opponent did much worse than him, collecting 56% with the first and an ominous 31% with the second. The second fraction retraces, like a déja vu, the same tracks as the first. The first two games are perfectly identical, break Spain and counter-break France, with the only variation on the theme given by the lack of advantages this time. Following the plot of the match, he seems to continue not to want to change the plot, which slavishly respects the pace of the first set.

Subsequently, however, in the first two games to the advantages of the partial (the third and the fourth) the line of continuity that the match had had up to then breaks; with Humbert finally able to put on the field his greater technical completeness, full of variations, who manages for the first time in the match to get the better of the Iberian’s terraiola constancy. After shaking himself up by grinding the game, the Frenchman was in total control of the set and seemed to be able to do it with him without difficulty. Instead, as soon as the moment came in which he had to reap the good that was sown in the hamlet, the ghosts of this nightmare 2022 resurfaced in his head to torment him. Dissolving, at 5-4 while serving for the set, Humbert with the score that now saw under pressure Martinez re-let go of his arm forcing the Spaniard to the advantages. Pedro wasted 6 game balls before going 5-5. Here began the real final thriller, worthy of a script by thrillmaster Hitchcock. The two protagonists on the pitch are literally consumed and corroded internally by tension when it’s their turn to try to win the set. Neither of them wants to lose it, but neither of them has the mental strength to shut it down.

Two more consecutive breaks and the joust begins again with one of the five members of the Spanish team finalist in the last ATP Cup which serves to end the meeting; but who instead gives us the tie-break. Even the deciding game it is a swing of emotions and pathos; 6 mini-breaks, three each. She also arrives a seventh who decides the game, 7-5 Martinez in the third match point. Well yes, no. 6 of Spain leaves us with bated breath until the last by not taking advantage of the first two consecutive match balls in the service, before concretizing the one in response and concluding the match after 2 hours and 30 of great competitive battle. A 6-4 7-6 (5), with a host of games to the advantages (9) and a second set that lasted even more than an hour and a half. Despite the defeat, this match has given us back a competitive version of Ugo, who certainly has not yet freed himself from all the aftermath of the previous months and is certainly far from the one admired in the triumph of Halle 2021, but which just in view of the season on the grass it can find the lost enamel. In the next round for Pedro there will be Hubert Hurkacz(tds n. 11) met only once in the 2018 Us Open qualifiers with the victory of Hubi two sets to zero.

The complete draw of Montecarlo

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