The step was still too high for Arthur Fils. Against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (34th in the world), still very solid on clay, the Frenchman fought for 2h48 on the Simonne-Mathieu court, but ended up losing in four sets (6-1, 4-6, 6-3 , 6-3). Perhaps a little too tight physically at times, the hopeful tricolor showed, all the same, great promise for his first Grand Slam match.
Winner in Lyon, Saturday, Son had a hard time getting into his game. Not on the legs, not very mobile during the first half hour, the 18-year-old player played much too short to worry Davidovich Fokina, who took stock in two or three racquet strokes. His returning quality, too, didn’t help him at first.
Physically a little tight, but great promises
But the trend ended up being reversed in the second run. The match and the scenario, much more balanced, woke up a full Simonne-Mathieu court to encourage the hopeful tricolor. The French ended up adapting his game to the ground and showed the extent of his talent: aggressive returns, ball lengths, variations, slice (backhand) effective. Basically everything he didn’t do in the first run. And obviously, by playing much better, he pushed the Spaniard, seeded number 29, into a fault and pocketed the second set, thanks to much better constructed points.
It was at this point that the Simonne-Mathieu chained the olas and the “Arthur, Arthur”, which gave a significant energy to the Frenchman. But physically a bit tight, Fils missed the mark in the third by not converting a break point as Davidovich Fokina lost precision on the backhand. Less comfortable in the exchange from that moment on, the young hopeful began to waver.
Despite losing the third set, he found some momentum in the fourth by starting with a bang (3-0). Then the machine went wrong…one last time. Exasperated, Son, who has lost the last six games, ed after losing his service at 4-3 by swinging a ball in the Parisian sky. A few minutes later, he lost on a last backhand foul. The end of his adventure, the beginning of his apprenticeship.