Arthur Fils in the 3rd round after Hubert Hurkacz’s retirement

Arthur Fils in the 3rd round after Hubert Hurkacz’s retirement
Arthur Fils in the 3rd round after Hubert Hurkacz’s retirement

Arthur Fils, ranked 34th in the world, reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time on Thursday at Wimbledon, benefiting from the withdrawal due to a knee injury of the Polish Hubert Hurkacz (7th) while the Frenchman was leading 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 2-6, 6-6 (9/8).

“It’s not nice to win like that against a friend. We had a very good match, he was diving in all corners!”commented Fils. “I hope he gets better soon and I’m focusing on the next round.”.

At 20, the Frenchman is participating in his second Major on grass. Last year he lost in the first round and this year he will face the Czech Tomas Machac (39th) or the Russian Roman Safiullin (44th) to try to reach the round of 16.

Under the eyes of the head of high-level at the French Tennis Federation (FFT) Ivan Ljubicic, the captain of the French team Paul-Henri Mathieu and his coach Sébastien Grosjean, Fils played a very aggressive and spectacular match.

In the first set, Hurkacz, 27 and semi-finalist in 2021 after eliminating Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, saved a break point at 3-3 with a magnificent short cross-court passing shot on a sliced ​​backhand, then Fils saved two at 4-3 and the set was thus decided in a tie break.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the second round at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils on July 4, 2024 in London / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

The Pole won the first point and the Frenchman the next six to conclude on his second set point.

Then Fils managed the first break of the game to lead 3-1 then 4-1 in the second set.

But while serving for the set, he was broken, nevertheless pocketing the second set by taking over the Polish player’s serve.

The latter dominated the third round.

In the fourth set, Fils offered the break on a double fault (4-3). Hurkacz served to equalize at two sets all but did not succeed, leaving Fils to catch up at 5-5.

During a new tie break, Fils offered a mini break to his opponent on a double fault (3/2). Once again, the Frenchman got back to 5/5, then offered himself a mach point at 7/6 without managing to convert it.

On a spectacular exchange that he won, Hurkacz then injured his right knee: after yet another dive, he quickly got up and, on the step that followed, which seemed harmless at first glance, he collapsed.

Son came to help him up, but the Pole was unable to walk and the doctor came to examine him in the middle of the court.

After hopping back to his chair, he had the back of his thigh just above the knee and the calf just below it massaged. After a huge bandage was applied, he resumed playing, very handicapped.

Frenchman Arthur Fils in the second round of the Wimbledon tournament against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz on July 4, 2024 in London / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

He played and lost two more points, but being almost unable to put his foot down, preferred to throw in the towel before trying to defend the second match ball in favour of Fils.

Faced with his opponent’s distress, the Frenchman showed little joy, preferring to film himself with the crowd applauding him.

“I didn’t really like grass before. But I happen to play pretty well on it.”he nevertheless said before leaving the court.

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