To everyone’s surprise, Ugo Humbert and Jérémy Chardy are among the last eight players in the men’s tennis table. They will play their place in the semi-finals on Thursday.
What if, finally, a French tennis player ends up bringing back a medal from Tokyo? A few weeks ago, the idea seemed absurd, as the results of the French have been disappointing for months.
The first matches in Japan seemed to follow the same dynamic. Gaël Monfils, best French in the ATP ranking? Exit from the first round. The French Caroline Garcia, Alizé Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic? The same. Even the Mahut-Herbert pair, the only chance for a French medal on paper, lost as soon as they entered the competition. As for the few to have won their first match, they were predestined for rapid elimination the following days.
But against all expectations, among the eight players still competing in the men’s individual table, two French people are still present. The biggest surprise probably comes from Ugo Humbert.
Opposed this Wednesday to the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, fourth in the ATP ranking and recent Roland Garros finalist, everything suggested that the young Frenchman’s Tokyo adventure was going to end there, in the round of 16. Led by a set to nothing, Humbert finally managed to reverse the match, winning the second set in the tie-break, before finally winning against a Greek diminished by a knee injury.
Shortly after, it was Jérémy Chardy, a 34-year-old veteran and now 68th in the ATP standings, who won his quarter-final in three rounds against Briton Liam Broady (143rd ATP). Humbert had also come onto the court to encourage him, the two men leaving after the meeting arm in arm, obviously with big smiles on their lips.
Hunk for Chardy
Next meeting for the French on the night of Wednesday to Thursday. Chardy will face Alexander Zverev, a solid world number 5. In the event of an exploit, he has a good chance of finding Novak Djokovic, current best player in the mode, if he wins against the Japanese Kei Nishikori – an opponent widely within his reach. On his way, Ugo Humbert will meet the Russian Karen Khachanov, 25th in the ATP ranking, in a duel which promises to be on paper very tight.
Among women, after defeats world number 1 Ashleigh Barty in the first round, and the Japanese Naomi Osaka in the eighth, the picture seems particularly open. On the night of Wednesday to Thursday, the Swiss Belinda Bencic, 12th in the world, will face the Kazakhe Elena Rybakina (n ° 20) for a place in the final.
In the other semi-final, the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, 6th in the WTA ranking, will start favorite against the Czech Marketa Vondrousova, 42nd in the ATP ranking, who qualified for the last four of the tournament after the retirement of Paula Badosa. in the quarter-finals following a heat-related discomfort. In the middle of the day, the thermometer in Tokyo can approach 40 degrees, with high humidity, which handicaps many players.