Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 14 - French and Czechs do well
From boys to men it was a good day for the French. And the Czechs are bouncing too from wins in the girls and women's singles.
French boy done good
In the first all-French boys’ singles final at Roland Garros since 2002, 17-year-old Luca Van Assche, the 13th seed, beat the 14th seed Arthur Fils 6-4, 6-2 to claim the crown. “I was very, very happy to win this big tournament in France in front of our fans, in front of French people,” Van Assche said. “It was very cool.” France was guaranteed a home-grown winner as all four semi-finalists were local lads. “It was unbelievable for French players to be in the semi-finals,” said Van Assche. The review isn't going to hold its breath waiting to see the same scenario in the men's event.
French boys done good
Soon after losing the singles final, Arthur Fils was back in action in the doubles final with his partner Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard - who he beat to reach the singles final - against Martin Katz and German Samofalov. The French pair won in straight sets. An augur for the match after the women's singles final?
French men done good
Indeed it was. But only just. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut have won doubles titles at all the four Grand Slam tournament venues in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York during their time together. They did not start the doubles final well against Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev. They were broken early and the Kazakhstani pair took the opener 6-4. Worse was to follow as Bublik served for the match at 5-4 in the second set. But like in the semi-final against the second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, Mahut and Herbert levelled at the death and went on to win the second set. The French duo took the decider 6-4 to lift their second French Open doubles crown. Gutsy stuff. And would you believe it, La Marseillaise all round the stadium. Quelle joie.
Was it a sign of things to come? Linda Noskova from the Czech Republic won the girls' singles title after beating Erika Andreeva from Russia. A few hours later on centre court, Noskova's compatriot Barbora Krejcikova saw off the Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the women's final. The link between them - apart from their country of birth - is Hana Mandlikova. She won the junior title in 1978 at the French Open and went on to win the women’s championship in 1981, the last Czech player to lift the women's crown before Ms Krejcikova.
Giving to the needy
Oh, they're a fillip, these trips to the French Open. You see everything. There was anti-government bile - when the crowds were sent home from the night match between Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini because of the 11pm curfew. And then the lust for populist approval - allowing the fans to stay after the curfew to watch the end of the Novak Djokovic/Rafael Nadal semi-final. Hymns of praise to President Emmanuel Macron and La Marseillaise. After the women's singles final, the organisers wheeled out Barbara Pravi to sing Voilà - France's entry for the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. The players and match officials stood round like lemons. Pourquoi?
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