The French tennis team may have regrets on Sunday, September 17, after coming close to qualifying for the Davis Cup quarter-finals. Facing the British, favorites and pushed at home by a tide of supporters, the French were finally eliminated after three contested and indecisive matches.

In Manchester, Sébastien Grosjean’s team was finally defeated in the decisive doubles, despite a successful start and four wasted match points in the third set. Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Nicolas Mahut won the first round with authority, giving hope for the first quarterfinal qualification for the Blues since 2018. But in a noisy AO Arena that was almost full with more than 13,000 spectators, a British record in the event, Dan Evans and Neal Skupski ended up triumphing after two suffocating decisive games (1-6, 7-6, 7-6) and two hours and forty-eight minutes of a bitter fight.

The French can emerge stunned from this Sunday full of twists and turns, where regrets and bursts of hope were intertwined. It began in the frustration of the first single lost 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, against Daniel Evans (27th in the world) by the young Arthur Fils, 19, (44th in the world), yet long in front, serene and diligent before unscrewing from the middle of the second sleeve.

The throw in place of Adrian Mannarino, weakened by adductor discomfort, initially looked like a winning bet: Son seemed to control the game, his emotions and his opponent, although better ranked, more experienced at 33, and crowned with a newly acquired title in Washington, also on hard court.

But the scenario reversed in the middle of the second set. “He put some energy into him, and with the public and the new balls, it was going a little too quickly,” commented the Ile-de-France native, a newcomer to the Top 50 in the ATP rankings.

Ugo Humbert’s victory

In the second singles, Ugo Humbert (36th in the world) did wonders against Cameron Norrie (17th in the world), whom he subdued with composure in three sets 7-6, 3-6, 7-5, won at the end of the suspense after two hours and forty-six minutes.

“It’s huge, so many emotions, I went through all the states during the match, it’s completely crazy,” said the 25-year-old left-hander at the microphone of BeIN Sports. He overcame “a big slack” in the second round and the “crazy noise” coming from the stands, “it was a huge blast”.

The oldest Edouard Roger-Vasselin (39 years old) and Nicolas Mahut (41 years old), so close to qualification, unfortunately did not manage to extend the celebration. The specialist in the discipline, Neal Skupski, winner at Wimbledon this summer, managed with his friend Dan Evans to turn the match around. The rest of the Davis Cup will be written without the French, but with Great Britain, Canada, reigning champion, outgoing finalist Australia and Serbia of world number 1 Novak Djokovic.