While the rain disrupted the day’s program on Wednesday, like that of the day before, the huge sensation came from the elimination of Rafael Nadal, seeded number one and defending champion, in the second round.
Frenchman Ugo Humbert, opposed to Richard Gasquet in the first round of the Australian Open, January 18, 2023. (MARTIN KEEP / AFP)
A start to the second round in the rain. After a heat wave the day before, followed by heavy showers that prevented the smooth running of the matches, the rain continued to disrupt the programming on Wednesday 18 January.
Interrupted the day before after only three games played, the 100% French clash between Richard Gasquet and Ugo Humbert turned in favor of the youngest. While Clara Burel and Laurent Lokoli also went to the mat, Adrian Mannarino won his fight against John Isner, as did Enzo Couacaud, also qualified, who will have the heavy task of challenging Novak Djokovic on Thursday.
The French: three qualified, three dropped
Winner of the Auckland tournament on Sunday, Richard Gasquet did not continue his momentum. Opposed in the first round to his compatriot Ugo Humbert, the 42nd in the world failed to put his game in place. Falling to 106th in the world, Ugo Humbert won 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. Clara Burel also could not resist the Czech Barbora Krejcikova, winner of Roland-Garros in 2021, victorious 6-4, 6-1 in 1:29 in the second round.
He had started his match perfectly on Tuesday, under the sun and the heat. But the rain appeared, forcing him to finish his meeting on Wednesday. And everything changed. Laurent Lokoli (175th in the world), out of the qualifying table, was beaten in the first round in five sets by the American Michael Mmoh (107th at the ATP), lucky-loser of the qualifications, 4-6, 2-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 6-2.
Good news on the other hand for Adrian Mannarino. The Frenchman, 45th in the world, overcame his fight against the formidable American John Isner (43rd at ATP). The Habs won 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10/8), 6-2, 6-2 after 3 hours of play. They therefore qualify for the second round. In ten duels, this is only the second time that the Frenchman has won against this opponent. Nice “perf” also for Enzo Couacaud. The 191st in the world, out of qualifying, dominated the Bolivian Hugo Dellien (131st in the world), 6-4, 7-5, 6-0 in barely 2 hours of play. But the 27-year-old player will challenge the Serbian Novak Djokovic in the 2nd round.
The surprise: the elimination of Rafael Nadal
It had been seven years since Rafael Nadal had bitten the dust in one of the first two rounds of a Grand Slam tournament.
📊 Les défaites de Rafael Nadal aux 1er et 2ème tours de GC :
🇺🇸 US 03 vs El Aynaoui (1/32)
🇺🇸 US 04 vs Roddick (1/32)
🇬🇧 Wim 05 vs Muller (1/32)
🇬🇧 Wim 12 vs Rosol (1/32)
🇬🇧 Wim 13 vs Darcis (1/64)
🇬🇧 Wim 15 vs Brown (1/32)
🇦🇺 OA 16 vs Verdasco (1/64)
🇦🇺 OA 23 vs McDonald (1/32) pic.twitter.com/hQKncOG0j5
— Jeu, Set et Maths (@JeuSetMaths) January 18, 2023
But at 36, the Spaniard seems to be gradually let go by a body bruised by years at the highest level. Defeated by the American MacDonald MacKenzie, 65th in the world, in three sets (6-4, 6-4, 7-5), the defending champion and number one seed worries: “It’s a difficult day, an injury moreover, one more hard moment, Rafael Nadal told a press conference. I’m not going to lie and say that I’m not mentally destroyed now. It’s hard for me.”
The crazy comeback: Felix Auger-Aliassime
After defeating his compatriot Vasek Pospisil with great difficulty in the first round by having given up the first set (1-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3), Felix Auger-Aliassime has taken a new step in resilience. Opposed to Alex Molcan (53rd in the world), who defeated Stan Wawrinka in five sets in the first round, the Canadian had to come back two sets behind to qualify for the third round (3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6 -2, 6-2).
Winner of three tournaments last October, the 7th in the world, who reached the quarter-finals here last year only to lose in a crazy match against Daniil Medvedev, is still alive. He will face the winner of the match between Frenchman Corentin Moutet and Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo.
The outstanding results: Swiatek and Sinner unroll, Sakkari jostled
World number one Iga Swiatek continues her strong start to the tournament. The Pole quietly qualified for the third round against Colombian Camilla Osorio (84th) 6-2, 6-3, still without losing a set. Just like Jannik Sinner, 16th in the world, who also passed without batting an eyelid by beating the Argentinian Tomas Etcheverry (79th) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. After reaching the quarters at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, the Italian is expected to turn at the start of the season.
Maria Sakkari, on the other hand, was jostled by Russian Diana Shnaider (106th and qualifying), before finally winning 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in Melbourne. The Greek, 6th in the world, took 2:33 to finally validate her ticket for the third round. Coco Gauff, finalist of the last edition of Roland-Garros, was also scared against Emma Raducanu (6-3, 7-6 ).