Marc Polmans is the unlikely last Australian standing in Paris after taking advantage of his call to the main draw in the 11th hour to reach the second round of Roland Garros.
The 23-year-old continued his breakout year on Tuesday with a guaranteed 6-2 6-2 3-6 6-3 defeat of impressive French talent Ugo Humbert, ranked 84 places higher at 38th in the world.
Polman’s first victory at Roland Garros came despite his loss in the last round of qualifying, the last of three lucky losers to be drawn after a trio of retirements on the eve of the tournament.
The victory over Humbert was his first scalp in the top 50 and guarantees world No.122 Polmans at least $ 130,000.
And that comes on the heels of a five-set loss in the US Open first round and a second round appearance at the Australian Open earlier this year, with a long period of isolation in the Melbourne’s hometown stuck in between.
“I was just in the cafe waiting, knowing they were doing the draw (lucky loser) but didn’t want to watch, I thought it would be too tense,” he recalls his second loser call. lucky in his career.
“The coach looked and I was the last chosen; very lucky dont take them for granted i didnt expect to play again and now being the last australian standing is kinda cool. “
Remarkably, six other Australians had played to Polmans and lost without winning a set in cold and difficult Parisian conditions.
But South Africa-born Polmans looked much more at home than the hometown favorite, as he challenged a few late nerves in a three hour and two minute contest.
Wearing his trademark legionnaire’s hat, Polmans raced through the first two sets before a serious serve at the start of the fourth set sent him on his way.
The Australian hit the winners back-to-back for the decisive break before saving break points as he served the game.
Polmans will face Cristian Garin, Chile’s 20th seed, in the second round, alongside Australians Daria Gavrilova and Astra Sharma.
Earlier on Tuesday, Alexei Popyrin’s 6-4 6-4 7-6 (9-7) loss to South African Lloyd Harris marked only his second outing in the first round after seven Grand Slam appearances.
Popyrin, 21, a junior champion at Roland Garros three years ago, ended the match with 20 unforced errors more than Harris and couldn’t manufacture a single breaking point.
“He served very, very well, I didn’t expect him to serve so well,” said world No.108 Popyrin.
” I am really disappointed; this is the first time that I lose for the first time in a Grand Slam (since his debut at the Australian Open in 2018).
“I don’t feel very confident; I think I’m going to play tournaments until there’s nothing left to play (this year), because I want to get that feeling of winning matches back. “
His loss follows back-to-back set losses from Alex de Minaur, Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth, John Millman and Aleksandar Vukic in the first two days of the tournament.
HOW THE ALSO HELD THE THIRD DAY AT THE FRENCH OPEN
Men’s singles, first round
Alexei Popyrin lost to Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-6 6-4 7-6 (9-7)
Marc Polmans bat Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-2 6-2 3-6 6-3
Australian Associated Press