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 qualifying round – one of three late entries after a number of dropouts on the eve of the tournament.
The victory over Humbert secures world No.122 Polmans at least $ 130,000 and follows a five-set loss in the US Open first round and a second round appearance at the Australian Open earlier this year. .
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 favorite, or German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round.
His victory puts him in the round of 16 with Australians Daria Gavrilova and Astra Sharma and follows Alexei Popyrin’s 6-4 6-4 7-6 (9-7) loss to South African Lloyd Harris earlier on Tuesday. .
Popyrin, 21, a junior champion at Roland Garros three years ago, finished the match with 20 unforced errors more than Harris and 12 fewer winners.
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.