Ugo Humbert defeats Alexander Shevchenko in five sets in Wimbledon first round

Ugo Humbert defeats Alexander Shevchenko in five sets in Wimbledon first round
Ugo Humbert defeats Alexander Shevchenko in five sets in Wimbledon first round

This Kazakh brought back good memories for Ugo Humbert since it was the same Alexander Shevchenko whom he had beaten at home, in the final of the Metz tournament, at the end of last season. But if success at the Moselle Open had been a walk in the park (6-3, 6-3), it was nothing of the sort during this first round of Wimbledon, won in five sets (6-1, 4-6 , 7-6 [2]6-7 [3]6-1).

This is his third victory in eleven matches over the distance and the second time in five participations in the London Grand Slam that the French No. 1 (26 years old, 16th in the world) has reached the second round. In 2019, he had galloped to the round of 16 before giving in to Novak Djokovic.

If he manages to maintain the consistency that he has lacked for several weeks, and to duplicate his impeccable first set from Monday, the second week would once again be within his reach on a surface and in a tournament that Humbert particularly likes. Three aces, 83% first serves and 100% points won behind them provided an ideal launching pad. Add to that his 12 winning points for five unforced errors and we were not far from the perfect copy.

But behind his teenage face that had fallen out of the junior draw, Shevchenko was not the resigned type. After the storm of the first set, the forces were balanced. Adjusting his sights on the return, he converted two break points out of two to pull away 3-1, then 5-3 after having given up his break lead.

Shevchenko injured in the knee

Building on his momentum, the 23-year-old, ranked 57th in the world, raced in the lead throughout the third set. All the Frenchman’s merit was in not getting discouraged, pushed by the encouragement at the edge of court no. 15 from his coach Jérémy Chardy. He thus picked up the score and managed an impeccable tie-break (7 points to 2) to swing two sets to one in his favor.

In the fourth, the two men tied up to 6-6, Shevchenko dismissing two break points which almost had the smell of match points as Messin was calm about his commitments. A second tie-break was inevitable. Humbert erased a mini break behind at the start, but the sharpness of his opponent on the return made the difference. This time, it was he who won the bet with an explosive backhand passing. But his left knee was creaking and the intervention of the trainer before the start of the last round indicated the path to follow for the Frenchman: to make the Kazakh ride as much as possible.

With grueling right-left sequences and grazing drop shots, Humbert executed the ideal game plan. Which gave him a break at 2-1, immediately followed by a controlled service game concluded at the net to lead 4-1 after 3h11 of combat. The worried and lost look of his opponent left little doubt about the outcome of a set finished with the same score as the first. In the second round, Ugo Humbert will face Botic Van de Zandschulp (97th) or Liam Broady (156th, beneficiary of a wild card).

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