Their fall in the standings now forces them to go through the qualifications. Respectively 152nd and 172nd player and player in the world, Kristina Mladenovic and Benoît Paire however began their obstacle course on Tuesday to join the big picture of the Australian Open. At least they fought well to pass the first round in three sets respectively against the Australian Maddison Inglis (6-3, 3-6, 6-4) and the Brazilian Matheus Pucinelli De Almeida (6-4, 6-7 , 7-5). They will face the Spanish Marina Bassols (125th in the world) and the American Michael Mmoh (109th) in the second round.
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Mladenovic had merit to get out of a roller coaster match, concluded after almost two and a half hours of combat (2:25 precisely). Yet ideally launched – she won the first five games – the Frenchwoman complicated her task at the start of the second when she gave up her commitment after having obtained the first break opportunities. At one round everywhere, she made the difference at the start of the final act before seeing her opponent (179th at the WTA) come back to 4-4. But she held her nerves to win the last two games, breaking again to finish, despite her 31 unforced errors (43 for her opponent).
9 survivors in the 2nd round
For Paire, it was not simpler. The Avignonnais even passed even closer to the correctional, since he accused a late break in the third set (6-4, 6-7, 2-4) against the 211th Brazilian world. His 13 double faults did not help him, but he compensated by hitting no less than 48 winning shots (for 42 unforced errors). He eventually won five of the last six games to get by in 2:21 on Court 13 in Melbourne.
Finalist in Challenger in Nouméa last week, Laurent Lokoli passed more easily on his side against the Swiss Antoine Bellier (6-3, 6-3). Jessika Ponchet also obtained a great victory against the Briton Katie Swan (6-4, 6-3). It is however already over for Chloé Paquet, beaten by the Czech Barbora Palicova (6-4, 7-6) and Geoffrey Blancaneaux, defeated by the Argentinian Marco Trungelliti (7-5, 6-1). Antoine Escoffier and Manuel Guinard were also frustrated because they were beaten at the post respectively by the Hungarian Zsombor Piros (2-6, 6-3, 7-5) and the Italian Andrea Pellegrino (7-6, 5-7, 7-6 ).
In the second round of qualifying, five Blues are therefore still in contention in the men’s table: Paire, Lokoli, Couacaud, Gaston and Müller (the last two will compete for a place in the third round). On the women’s side, there are still four left: Mladenovic, Ponchet, Burel and Jeanjean. Note the elimination on abandonment of the Dutchman Tim van Rijthoven, revelation of the season on grass in 2022, against the Swiss Leandro Riedi (6-3, 3-0 ab.).
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