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du Tuesday 29 Octobre 2019 at 19h00 au Tuesday 29 Octobre 2019 at 20h30
ROLEX PARIS MASTERS From October 31th to November 8th, 2020
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Feliciano Lopez saved two match points en route to continuing his great run against a rising star almost half his age.

 

 

Feliciano Lopez felt every one of his 37 years, his legs were betraying him after nearly three hours of slog and he’d even had to call for the doctor.

Yet with a performance of remarkable skill and fortitude, the oldest player at the Rolex Paris Masters fought back from the brink of defeat to earn an incredible first round win on Monday.

Despite being up against a youngster almost half his age in 19-year-old rising luminary Alex de Minaur and having already played two wearying matches to qualify over the weekend, the Spanish veteran defied all the odds to come from a set down, save two match points and finally prevail 6-7(4) 6-4 7-6(6) in a first round epic.

 

Unbreakable

 

Having played his third match in three days and endured six hours and 44 minutes on court already, Lopez looked a picture of exhaustion at the end of a fabulous contest which will take some beating for excitement this week.

Yet by the end, he had still proved ‘unbreakable’, having repelled all the 19 break points that he has faced this past three days.

 

Next season, Lopez’s day job is going to be as the tournament director for the Madrid Open yet even that role couldn’t have been as mentally and physically taxing as this two hour 57 minute examination.

A battle of the generations - Sydney lad De Minaur wasn’t even born when Lopez began his long, elegant career - it turned out that an old soldier’s heart and nous was just a bit too much for the teenager’s legs and speed.

Yet all credit had to go to De Minaur too, as he also demonstrated the sort of grit that his mentor Lleyton Hewitt would have approved of as he saved two match points himself in the final set.

It was a superb contrast of styles from the start with Lopez’s forays to the net being countered by the Spanish-based Aussie’s athleticism from the back court.

 

Lopez looked as if he would nick the opening set when he earned three break points at 5-5 but De Minaur, who had won their only previous encounter in Sydney earlier this year, won seven straight points before prevailing in the tiebreak even while suffering a cricked neck which forced him to call for the trainer.

Lopez, who had hurled his racket to the ground in disgust as the breaker slipped away from him, looked as if the match might also be slipping from his grasp as he had to call for the doctor to give him some medication late in the second set.

Weariness was clearly setting in and yet while De Minaur seemed by far the fresher, it was Lopez’s more attacking approach against the counter-puncher that eventually paid dividends.

Still, after spurning two match points at 5-4, it looked as if Lopez may have missed his chance, especially when De Minaur, controlling the tie-break shoot-out, moved into a 6-4 lead.

 

Yet Lopez saved the first match point with a searing return and the second with a pinpoint volley - his 44th winner - before converting a third match point of his own to set up a second round meeting with Diego Schwartzman. 

That’s the good news for Lopez; the bad news is that he won’t get a day off tomorrow as he’s playing in the doubles! 

 

 

Groupe 1

Groupe 2