Gaël Monfils Falls in Paris-Bercy Masters 1000, French Tennis Suffers
Gaël Monfils faced a disappointing defeat on Monday as he entered the prestigious Masters 1000 tournament at Paris-Bercy. Out of the eight French players participating in the first round, only Ugo Humbert managed to secure a victory and advance to the next round. This unfortunate outcome marks a somber milestone for French tennis.
A Disheartening Start for French Tennis
The Rolex Paris Masters, one of the final editions in Bercy or even in the capital, has not been favorable to French tennis in the year 2023. On Tuesday evening, Gaël Monfils, currently ranked 79th in the world, suffered a defeat despite having a match point against the 21st-ranked Argentinian player, Francisco Cerundolo. The final score stood at 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 in favor of Cerundolo, eliminating Monfils from the tournament in the first round.
A Historic Underperformance
This year’s Parisian tournament has witnessed an unprecedented underperformance by French players since its inception in 1986. Out of the eight French participants in the first round, only Ugo Humbert, ranked 26th, managed to secure a spot in the next stage. This lack of success adds to the concerns surrounding French tennis, as no Frenchman has reached the second week of a Grand Slam tournament this year.
Son, Van Assche, Mannarino, Gasquet, Bonzi, Muller…
Gaël Monfils, a two-time finalist in 2009 and 2010, started the match strongly, relying on a powerful serve (4 aces, 71% points won behind his first serve) to claim the first set (6-4) by converting his third set point on Cerundolo’s serve after 44 minutes of intense play.
In the second set, Monfils faced an early break but managed to stay in the game with the support of the “magic of Paris.” This mystical force, often associated with Monfils’ performances at Bercy, allowed him to break back when Cerundolo was leading 4-3. The electric atmosphere fueled his determination, and he even had a match point at 5-4 on Cerundolo’s serve, which the Argentinian skillfully saved. The subsequent tiebreak was dominated by Cerundolo (7-6, 7/2), who appeared fresher on the court.
Entering the third set, Monfils once again tapped into the magic of Paris, pushing himself to the limit to secure an early break. However, his advantage proved insufficient. Despite the unwavering support from the Bercy crowd, which likely helped him save the first two match points, Cerundolo capitalized on the third opportunity, ultimately winning the match after a grueling 2 hours and 41 minutes of battle.
Monfils’ defeat adds to the disappointments faced by other French hopefuls, including Arthur Fils, Luca Van Assche, Adrian Mannarino, Richard Gasquet (despite having three match points), Benjamin Bonzi, and Alexandre Muller.