After two defeats as soon as he entered the running at the last two editions of Roland-Garros, Corentin Moutet (139th in the world) will be in the second round this year. Against one of the (rare) former masters of the place, Stan Wawrinka (257th), the Frenchman hung on after the loss of the first round before escaping to win in four sets (2-6, 6 -3, 7-6 [7-2], 6-3), Monday, May 23. He will find Rafael Nadal on his way in the next round.
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Badly embarked after the loss of the first set, put in difficulty by the heavy strikes of Stan Wawrinka and his realism (two break points obtained and transformed), Corentin Moutet showed his character on the Suzanne-Lenglen court. “Throughout the match, I tried to vary my game, to change things, and it paid off against a fighter like Stan”he confided after the meeting.
Because the second and third rounds of the French will be of a completely different ilk. Under a threatening sky and heavy weather, “Coco” was more offensive and much, much more effective, like this cushioned volley with a retro effect which left the 37-year-old Swiss stunned.
Almost in levitation for two sets, “in the zone” as the purists would say, Moutet did not go far from derailment in the third set. While he was leading 5-2, a disputed ball at 30-30 on Wawrinka’s service will cut off the French player’s momentum. Behind, the triple winner of Grand Slams (Australian Open in 2014, Roland-Garros in 2015, US Open in 2016) picked up at 5-5, then pushed the Frenchman to the decisive game. Nervous, letting out his exasperation over a bad choice (“why are you doing this, why?”), the 139th in the world regained his lucidity at the best time to make short work of the Swiss in the tie-break (7-6 [7-2]). At that moment, the audience at Suzanne-Lenglen understood that victory could not escape the Frenchman.
Here, there, everywhere #Roland Garros | @moutet99 pic.twitter.com/5gOj4Mf2Zy
— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) May 23, 2022
The fourth inning will be a repetitive bis of the second. Transforming his only two break points and still just as solid, Corentin Moutet held his success against a powerless Stan Wawrinka.
Away from the competition since his defeat against Lloyd Harris in the first round of the Doha tournament in March 2021, the former world number 3 did not sign his return until the end of March on the courts, during the Marbella tournament. Bothered for a long time by pain in his left foot, he had taken the courageous decision to have surgery without being able to specify a date of return to the circuit. A first surgery which preceded another, in June 2021. A painful liability which was seen on Monday, the Swiss sometimes seeming to lack rhythm.
Now, up to a mountain for the French in the second round. After knocking down a winner of Roland-Garros, he will have to offer himself the scalp of a second, and not the least: the man with 13 titles in Paris, Rafael Nadal.