The difference in age and ranking was significant but Arthur Fils (18 years old, 163rd in the world) did not let it go against Richard Gasquet (36 years old, 45th). On the heels of his two Challenger finals (won at Oeiras-2, lost at Quimper), he eliminated the Biterrois 7-5, 7-5, in 1h51, in the first round of the ATP 250 in Montpellier.
Son thus obtained his very first success on the big circuit and became the second player born in 2004 to win a match on the Tour (after Stefanos Sakellaridis, 612th in the world, at the United Cup). Six times finalist in the Hérault, three times winner (2013, 2015, 2016), Richard Gasquet had never lost in the first round in Montpelier in ten participations.
Fils didn’t just play his luck bravely, showing the power of his serve and his remarkable forehand. Above all, he showed impressive resilience for his age. He took a break twice (1-3 in the first set, 0-2 in the second) and twice saved two double break points (at 1-3, then at 2-4) in the first act. Rebelote in the second, 3 everywhere (two chances for Gasquet), then 5 everywhere. Not intimidated for two pennies, he completed his work with a shutout, including slamming two winning shots.
Fils will face in the second round Roberto Bautista-Agut, 24th in the world and seeded 4.