The US Open is not historically the most successful Grand Slam for the French. But, like Caroline Garcia, some tricolors still pulled out of the game on the courts of Flushing Meadows. Flashback.
The epic of Pioline
Cédric Pioline remains the only player to have reached the final in New York 29 years ago. Powerless in the final against Pete Sampras (loss 6-4, 6-4, 6-3,) who just a little better than him The 24-year-old Parisian, then seeded 15, had notably made an impression by dominating world number one Jim Courier in four sets in 8e 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4. He then knew how to follow up against Andrei Medvedev, then the Australian Wally Masur, each time in four sets, before falling against Sampras. In 1999, Pioline, this time not seeded, but definitely at ease in the Big Apple, had defeated Gustavo Kuerten in the quarters 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (14), 7-6 (8), in a titanic fight. After losing the first round, he won the next three in hotly contested tie-breaks. But in the semi-finals, he will be swept away by Todd Martin (6-4, 6-1, 6-2).
Mauresmo very close to the final
Outclassed by Serena Williams in the semi-finals of Wimbledon 2002, Amélie Mauresmo, seeded 10, does much better against Venus, two months later at the US Open but it is the big sister of Williams, double defending champion who has the last word 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Mauresmo’s moves to the net and range of shots, however, won the admiration of the New York crowd. With two outstanding victories against the Belgian Kim Clijsters (seed 7) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the round of 16 then the American Jennifer Capriati (3) 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in a Homeric quarter. “I’ve proven to myself that I’m getting stronger mentally“, Then slipped the future double winner of Grand Slam in 2006 (Australian Open and Wimbledon) and world number one. In 2006, the French in search of a Petit Slam will be barred dryly in the semi-finals of the US Open by the Russian Maria Sharapova 6-0, 4-6, 6-0.
Pierce swept in the final
Mary Pierce, seeded no 12, reached her first US Open semi-final by beating Amélie Mauresmo 6-4, 6-1 in an all-French quarter-final. In the semi-finals, the winner of the Australian Open (1995) and Roland-Garros (2000) followed up against the Russian Elena Dementieva, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. But as at Roland-Garros 2005, against Justine Henin, Pierce, 30, stumbles on the last step, outclassed by another Belgian, Kim Clijsters 6-3, 6-1 in 1 hour and five minutes. Without regret. ” She (Clijsters) made me play badly. She’s faster than any girl I’ve met. She brought back all my balls and forced me to make a mistake..
Gasquet barred by his worst pet peeve
The Biterrois, then at his best, responded to the expectations placed on him. Gasquet, whose game is as effective as it is aesthetic, even tamed the fourth seed, David Ferrer, in five sets, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, a player who generally unsuccessful. In the previous round, it also took him 5 sets to dominate Milos Raonic (10) 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(9), 7-5, saving at pass a match point. Tired, Gasquet once again suffered the law in the semi-finals of his worst nightmare Rafael Nadal for the tenth time in ten games 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 in 2h21. Nine years later, in 2022 in New York in the 3rd round, Gasquet conceded an 18e setback in 18 games against the Spaniard who has not conceded a single set to the French since 2008…
The great missed meeting of Monfils
2016, a date to mark with a white stone for French tennis. The US Open remains the only Grand Slam tournament of the Open era in which France has placed three players in the quarter-finals with Tsonga, Monfils and Pouille. The latter, then great hope of French tennis, had created the sensation by eliminating in the round of 16 Rafael Nadal 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6). The 22-year-old then fell to Monfils. Impressive, the Parisian, three quarters on the clock in New York in his career, had not conceded a set before challenging Djokovic in the semi-final. That year, the Serb was evolving far from his best level. But facing a player he has never beaten in 18 games, the Monf ‘was liquefied and went through the probably most important game of his career. In 2019, Monfils has another chance to end up in the semi-finals. Favorite against novice Matteo Berrettini at this level, he lost in the tie-break of the fifth set. Regrets, more regrets.