It was hitting hard this Wednesday at Roland-Garros during the second qualifying round. Very hard even for Océane Babel, knocked out at the start of the match by the blows of the Georgian Ekaterine Gorgodze and the scorching sun. “I took a heat stroke at the startadmitted the 18-year-old player, dispatched 6-1 in the first set and broken from the start of the second set. I had a headache, I didn’t feel very well. » The chances of seeing the 654th player in the world overthrow the 109th, 12 years her senior, were very low. But court 6 turned into a miracle court.
“The public helped me a lot, I really want to thank everyoneshe insisted. When I was back against the wall, thinking I was going to lose, they really gave me strength to keep fighting. » Reinvigorated, Babel broke white and started her march forward, like the day before, when she had turned around a badly embarked situation against her compatriot Alice Rame (347th) in the first round (3-6, 6-4, 6-4).
“I feel good here, I’m confident. I train here most of the year, I feel at home”
After two hours of « combat »she pulled through and snagged her biggest prey on her record for the second day in a row. “I feel good here, I am confidentensured the only French survivor in the third and final round of qualifying. I train here most of the year, I feel at home. »
Russian Selekhmeteva in the next round
After having known the honors of the Philippe-Chatrier court last year in the first round against the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina (defeat 6-2, 7-5) thanks to an invitation, the Ile-de-France, licensed to Sarcelles, now dreams of returning in the main painting through the large door. “That would mean that I would have deserved my place even more”admitted Babel, who will have her card to play on Friday against the Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva, 18 years old and 198th player in the world.
She is accompanied in the third round by Sean Cuenin, who will play his ticket in the big picture on Thursday against the Italian Giulio Zeppieri, and by Geoffrey Blancaneaux, winner of Roland-Garros juniors in 2016, in the running on Friday to close the qualifications with a note of blue.