João Fonseca Dominates Arthur Fils in Rio Open First Round

On paper, João Fonseca is a 17-year-old kid, ranked 685th in the world. On the field, the born carioca who grew up not far from the Jockey club, looked more like Jannik Sinner, a giant who distributes big forehand slaps and who attacks everything that moves. Faced with such a hurricane full of talent and nerve, Arthur Fils, 19 years old and 34th in the world, did not exist.

He drowned from the first points of the match, acting as a punching bag against the audacity of the former junior world number 1 and winner of the last US Open in the category. Enough to alert Jean, Arthur Fils’ dad, who took a look at his training on Sunday. “Oh yeah, he hits the kid really well,” he noted. So good, that he made short work of his son, even though he was renowned for his power and the heaviness of his ball. Although the Frenchman looked at his box and questioned Sergi Bruguera with his eyes, he found neither comfort nor solution. As a result, he suffered a scathing 6-0, in 30 minutes, his first bubble since a defeat against Pablo Cuevas, to the challenger from Bordeaux, in May 2022.

In the second set, despite a high percentage of first balls (79%), Arthur Fils only postponed the deadline. Joao Fonseca took advantage of the Frenchman’s mistakes (22 unforced errors in 1h30) without forgetting to press a little neutral ball from his opponent on each ball. The Essonnian could smash his racket and scream with rage, he will end up eating the earth, like in Buenos Aires a week earlier, again in the first round. But also like all the French people who attended the Rio Open. In the history of the tournament, they have all lost in the first round: Chardy (2014), Tsonga (2016), Moutet (2020), Paire (2022) and Gaston (2023). Only Gaël Monfils had overcome the curse by passing two rounds (in 2018.) But nothing to console Arthur Fils: “The results on the tour are not good. I hope that all the work on earth will end up being useful. For the moment I don’t really see how it will be useful, but hey, we learn more from our defeats than from our victories, it seems…”

2024-02-21 21:59:52
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