Tennis: Djokovic drops a set for his return to Indian Wells, where five French people qualify for the 3rd round

Novak Djokovic made his return, not so quietly, at the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells, where five French people qualified for the third round, while Clara Burel came close to the feat against Coco Gauff on Saturday March 9

Tennis: Djokovic drops a set for his return to Indian Wells, where five French people qualify for the 3rd round

Novak Djokovic made his return, not so quietly, at the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells, where five French people qualified for the third round, while Clara Burel came close to the feat against Coco Gauff on Saturday March 9.

Five out of eight: the French were assured on Saturday in the Californian desert, where the top seeds Ugo Humbert, Adrian Mannarino and Caroline Garcia held their place for their entry into the running, after being spared in the first round. Humbert - now 14th player in the world and eyeing the Top 10 after his victory at the ATP 500 in Dubai last week - was not flamboyant, but solid enough in the important moments to defeat the American Patrick Kypson ( 6-4, 6-4).

“These are the matches where I am most proud of myself, the ones where I don’t have good feelings. I just wanted to be solid on serve and get a break,” he commented. The 25-year-old Messin explained that he felt pain in his right adductor muscles, which he had to deal with last week in Dubai, and which prevented him from training much in California. Adrian Mannarino (21st) easily dominated the Czech Tomas Machac (6-1, 6-2) in two sets and will meet the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (13th) in the next round, who defeated Frenchman Alexandre Müller (7-5, 6-) on Saturday. 2).

Gauff in difficulty against the Frenchwoman Burel

After losing in the first round of her last three tournaments, Caroline Garcia struggled but finally found success against the Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova (6-1, 3-6, 6-3). “This kind of victory no longer relieves me, the scenarios repeat themselves,” she lamented after a slump in the second set.

The young Arthur Fils (19 years old, 43rd) and Diane Parry (21 years old, 61st) managed to eliminate top seeds, respectively the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich (23rd) in two sets (6-3, 6-4) and Canadian Leylah Fernandez (22nd) (7-5, 5-7, 6-2). Asked about a possible entry into the Top 50, Parry said she had “the Paris Olympics in mind”. “There’s not much time left, all the tournaments count, it’s a dream for me I have to think about it. »

The ranking of June 10, after Roland-Garros, will serve as selection: the 56 best per gender with a maximum of four per country will qualify. The sensation of the day almost came from Clara Burel (22 years old, 47th), who shook the Stadium number 1 of Indian Wells by leading 5-2, then serving at 5-3 for the match in the last set against to the American Coco Gauff, world number 3.

But Gauff ended up coming back to win in the tie-break (2-6, 6-3, 7-6), highlighting a “mental” fight. “It’s how you behave on bad days, not on good days, that really matters,” mused the young star, winner of the last US Open, who will celebrate her 20th birthday on Wednesday.

Djokovic drops a set to Vukic

After the Blues, who lit up the start of the day, green, the color of the outfit of world number 1, Serbian Novak Djokovic, appeared on the main court. The emperor of tennis, who still looks haughty despite the weight of his 24 Grand Slam titles, has not played in this tournament since 2019, and has not won it since 2016 (after 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015) .

Welcome again in the United States despite his non-vaccination against Covid-19, Djokovic was however not impeccable against the Australian Aleksandar Vukic (6-2, 5-7, 6-3), who often held the exchange against his prestigious opponent.

The Australian notably won the second set with a superb laser return on the line, Djokovic's usual specialty. But the world number 1, who had not played since his elimination in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, was able to tighten up the game at the right time to avoid too much trouble.