For a first match in the Australian Open main draw, Arthur Rinderknech was served. Scheduled at the end of the day, against an Australian, we would have to be strong. Precisely, if everything was not perfect in his match, the Frenchman will have been irreproachable in terms of attitude.
The trap would have been to be inflamed by the atmosphere set by the public or to cower in front of a crowd entirely devoted to his opponent. But strong from his university past in the United States, Rinderknech knew how to manage. He remained incredibly calm, entirely focused on his tennis. In a match that has often been a duel of servers, Rinderknech was able to pull out of the game (16 aces, 77% of points behind his first ball).
And to be honest, we have the impression that despite the five sets disputed, Rinderknech was always the boss on the court, in the sense that a lot depended on his quality of play. While Popyrin (59th in the world) although regular, spoiled a lot, it was on a fault in the exchange that the French dropped the second set. More rigorous, it dominated the third. The fourth set was once again going to be played on a break.
A bad play by Rinderknech ended in a double fault, offered it to Popyrin who did not ask for so much. Because over the whole match, the Australian will have been very light in returns and in passing. Guilty of sometimes gross mistakes, his success really depended on the failures of his opponent.
A scenario confirmed in the fifth set. The Frenchman broke there quickly to lead 2-0. A bad attack from Rinderknech and a happy passing from Popyrin erased this advantage. But, back to 2-1, Popyrin called on the physiotherapist to have his right arm manipulated. Rather than risk losing his timing, Rinderknech dropped a few serves while his opponent was getting healed. Behind, he once again took the service of his opponent.
Confident in his strengths, Rinderknech then decided to take the least possible risk on his return games, preferring to ensure his services (with wonders of second balls unreadable for Popyrin). Winning tactic. And as soon as the match was over, Rinderknech could finally exult and let his emotions out. It was beautiful to see. He is now launched and his next opponent will be the Briton Dan Evans.