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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday November 4, 2021

 
Hugo Gaston

Hometown hope Hugo Gaston provided Paris with an electrifying victory over teenage phenom Carlos Alcaraz on Thursday.

Photo Source: Getty

France’s Hugo Gaston created waves of emotion and rode them to victory on Thursday night in Paris, the 21-year-old World No.103 playing a disruptive brand of cat and mouse tennis that acted like a force field, keeping 35th-ranked Carlos Alcaraz from ever shifting into high gear.

Tennis Express

The 6-4, 7-5 victory lasted one hour and 43 minutes, more than long enough to inflate balloons of hope about the long-term prospects of the crafty southpaw from Toulouse as he prepares to face defending champion Daniil Medvedev in quarterfinal action on Friday.

Medvedev defeated rising American Sebastian Korda in the first night session tussle. It was entertaining but didn't captivate in the way Gaston's piece de resistance did.

It was a deflating finish that left the 18-year-old Alcaraz shell-shocked as he squandered a 5-0 lead in the second set and dropped the final seven games of the contest.


“It's quite surprising,” Gaston would later say. “It was 5-Love for him during the second. I was drifting off at that point, and he started to have a letdown, as well. He made a lot of mistakes, because I managed to have fast balls, slow balls, to have high balls. He started to lose his groove, and I stayed focused. This is why I managed to overturn the match in my favor.”

Alcaraz made 15 unforced errors in the opening set, but only had two to his name through the first five games of the second set. Surely he was on his way to a victory and a trip to his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal?

Gaston had other ideas.

Soon it was 5-2, and the crowd began to buzz, Gaston with one break back in his pocket, handed over via an Alcaraz double-fault. Then it was 5-4, Gaston in possession of 14 of the last 16 points, the crowd whipped to a frenzy at Bercy.

Quelle ambience! The Frenchman playing unnerving, perturbing tennis; Alcaraz more and more unsure of himself as he was pushed and pulled, pushed and pulled.

5-5.

6-5.

Alcaraz now completely off the rails as Gaston slips into never miss mode.

Game, set and match Gaston – a stunning comeback and an over-the-top moment for French tennis during a season in which - let's be honest - disappointments have far outweighed the triumphs.

Crazy scenes, and Gaston was overcome by gratitude, for what he felt from the crowd. The Frenchman won 20 the final 21 points of the match, and he knew he couldn’t have done it without loads of love from the paying customers.

“It was incredible,” he said. “Honestly, I have been playing tennis for this. It was actually incredible. It was really wonderful to live this match with them.

“I actually won because they supported me from beginning to the end even when I had a letdown during the first or the second set, they were always cheering me. It's incredible to have such a great public.”

 

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