Framed by six basket panels, deprived of electronic arbitration, equipped with a single stand and equipped with a net mounted on wheels, the Moselle Open adjoining court nevertheless looks very good. It is in this large gymnasium placed in a corner of the Arena of Metz and named “Court 1” that three French were scheduled, Wednesday, for their first tour.
Adrian Mannarino (47th) suffered the plasters, because at the beginning of his match against the Swede Mikael Ymer (100th), at noon, the spectators entered and left like in a mill, during the games and even during the points. Before security was put in place to regulate traffic and limit door slams, the French left-hander contested an extended first set and eighteen break points against Ymer.
He undoubtedly won the point of the tournament, to save a ball from 7-5, by chaining a drop-against drop combo with a superb lob, with a flick with his back to the net which in turn lobbed his opponent, then concluding with a successful smash on a smash returned and floating, hit from the baseline by the Swede. In the aftermath, paradoxically, everything went off the rails. Mannarino lost the set, his serenity and his tennis (7-5, 6-0 in 1h46).
Furness very close to the feat
Evan Furness (208th) must have had his head a little elsewhere, at the time of digestion, when succeeding him in the gymnasium, and to play, at twenty-four, the very first match of his career on the circuit director. Coming from qualifying and no doubt strained by the event, the Breton had just forgotten his phone in the gym, during his warm-up, but it’s as if he had also left his game in the locker room. He lost white the first three games of the match in seven minutes flat. Twelve points that flew away in the blink of an eye, against Alexander Bublik, 44th ATP and titled in Montpellier this year.
Far from breaking down, however, Furness then fought a superb battle against the whimsical Kazakh, succeeding at times in a series of rather colossal returns against such a server. Led 4-2 in the first set, he won 7-5. Led 4-1 in the second, it comes back to 4-4, in vain. And in the last round, he went so far as to lead 4-2, before laying down his arms in the tie-break, in front of a grandstand full of spectators delighted by the show (5-7, 6-4, 7-6  in 2h31).
Perf on perf for Barrere
Launched shortly before 6 p.m., Grégoire Barrère (167th) played in front of fewer people, because the public had preferred to migrate to the Central, for the clash between the two former top 10 Richard Gasquet and Dominic Thiem (6-3, 7-6 for Austrian). That did not prevent Barrère, himself a former 80th player in the world and aged 28, from winning the best victory of his season, against Oscar Otte (52nd). All being in the lead 5-3 years both runs (7-6 , 7-5 in 1h26). Coming from the qualifications and winner, Monday, in the last preliminary round, of the Hungarian Marton Fucsovic (91st), Barrère has just won his two best “perfs” of the year in quick succession.
On Thursday, he will challenge Mikael Ymer, Mannarino’s scorer, for a place in the quarter-finals. The two men will have the chance to explain themselves again in the gymnasium.