Things are off to a bad start for the Blues…

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The first two French in the running at the Masters 1000 in Rome, Luca Van Assche and Constant Lestienne were eliminated on Wednesday. The first was beaten by Tomas Etcheverry while the second was forced to retire.

Twelve French are present in the main draw of the Masters 1000 in Rome, but the first two in the running have already left the tournament. Luca Van Assche, on the eve of celebrating his 19th birthday, was hoping to win his first match to challenge Novak Djokovic once again, from whom he took a set in Banja Luka last month. But the winner of Roland-Garros juniors 2021 lost against Tomas Etcheverry, ranked 24 ranks behind him (61st against 85th), in a match which started 1h30 late due to rain. In each set, the Frenchman started well, but the 23-year-old Argentinian ended up knocking him down to win 7-6, 6-3 in 2:04.

In the first set, Van Assche broke from the start and then led 40-30 on his face-off, before experiencing a black hole, which allowed Etcheverry to lead 4-1 then 5-2. The Argentinian served to win the set at 5-3 but was broken by the French on his fourth opportunity. The young tricolor then managed to push his opponent to the tie-break and also led 3-0 to start, but Etcheverry came back to 4-4 and then pocketed the set (9-7) on his fourth opportunity. In the second, Van Assche started strong winning the first three games. But it cracked again, and in large widths! The Argentinian has indeed won six games in a row (3 break points converted out of 7) and therefore the match. Luca Van Assche (who should however get his best ranking in ten days) may harbor regrets but this match will undoubtedly serve as a lesson for him for the future. He will now head to Lyon to compete in qualifying next week.

Lestienne can’t do it anymore

Second French in the running this Wednesday in the Italian capital, Constant Lestienne (soon to be 31 years old, 70th) only stayed 23 minutes on the court. The time to lose the first set 6-1 against Laslo Djere (62nd) and to give up. The Picard, regularly injured in the leg, is going through a very difficult period and has not won a match since February 12 in Rotterdam. Beaten in the round of 16 in the Netherlands by Holger Rune, he then lost in Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells (retirement), Estoril, Monte-Carlo and Munich (retirement). Will we see him at the Bordeaux Challenger, in Geneva and at Roland-Garros in the coming month?

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