The French, beneficiary of an invitation, almost reached for the first time in his career an 8th final in Grand Slam.
Benjamin Bonzi, 108th in the world and beneficiary of an invitation, fought five sets but finally lost (2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-2) against the Switzerland Dominic Stricker (128th), from qualifying, Friday in the third round of the US Open.
“I don’t know how I did. I raised my level to play a very good fifth set“, admitted Stricker who is participating in his third Grand Slam tournament (elimination in the first round at Roland-Garros this year then in the second at Wimbledon). “I had never played in front of so many people and it was great“, he added before leaving the Grandstand of Flushing Meadows. “Coming to New York, no one in my team thought we would reach the knockout stages. It’s not over, but we’re going to treat ourselves to a good piece of chocolate“, he said. In the next round, he will face the Czech Jakub Mensik (206th at 17), like him from qualifying, or the American Taylor Fritz (9th) for a place in the quarterfinals.
On Friday, however, Bonzi had immediately taken the match in hand: he broke away 4-0 and kept his double break until the end of the set. But the Swiss regained his footing and managed the break to lead 5-3 in the second set. Bonzi immediately picked up before conceding his serve again on the final game of the set. In the third set, the Frenchman immediately created three break points by leading 40/0 on Stricker’s serve. But the Swiss won nine points in a row to lead 2-0 and 30/0.
Bonzi stopped the bleeding and, after another exchange of services, the two players found themselves tied at 3-3. Stricker earned the break to lead 5-3 and serve for the set. But Bonzi unbroken and reattached at 5-5 without being able to prevent Stricker from winning the tie-break. While the Frenchman seemed to regain the upper hand by winning the fourth set, it was Stricker who proved to be the most lucid and efficient in the deciding set.