Cerundolo 'extra motivated' at favourite Slam

 - Alex Sharp

Argentine starts qualifying campaign on a positive note as Sandgren pulls off enormous comeback

Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Roland Garros 2022, qualifying first round© Philippe Montigny/FFT

Clear blue skies and the scorching sun provided the glorious setting for an action-packed day in men’s qualifying.

Match point saves in absolute marathon matches were joined by home success and an outstanding record run broken.

'This Grand Slam is the best'

Last summer in Paris, Juan Manuel Cerundolo suffered heartache, being denied a main draw spot at the final qualifying hurdle.

The Argentine is determined to re-write that script this week and earn a dream debut at Roland-Garros.

“I love Paris, for Argentina, for me, I think this Grand Slam is the best, it is the tournament for us,” stated the world No.132. “We love these clay courts and it makes us extra motivated to do well here.”


The 20-year-old ignited his qualifying campaign with a hard-fought 6-3, 6-3 triumph over 2021 Roland-Garros boys’ champion Luca van Assche.

“I’m really happy for the match, it was a really tough one, especially after I’ve been suffering a lot of injuries this year. It’s more important to be healthy and in good shape, but it’s a good start,” added Cerundolo after topping the French youngster.

“Still three weeks ago I was really bad with pain in my right hip, with muscles I broke there, I was thinking about surgery or to play in a conservative mode. I’m not in my best physical state, but I’m working hard to keep feeling better.”

The world No.132 burst onto the scene alongside his brother Francisco Cerundolo last year, capturing the Cordoba trophy on his ATP debut.

His elder sibling soared into the semi-finals of the Miami Masters this spring, where Juan Manuel also turned heads with a third-round showing.

“It was amazing, we were losing too easily on the hard courts and we said to each other, ‘What can we do differently?’” said Juan Manuel.

“We’ve worked really hard, we train together, we motivate each other. It was incredible for both of us and we want more.”

Sandgren comes back from the brink

Earlier on Tuesday, top seed Thiago Monteiro was cruising through at 6-3, 5-1 and match point up on Tennys Sandgren. However, the American compiled a stunning comeback to down the world No.100 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(10-8) in their three-hour battle.  


There was also match point drama on a packed Court 14 as Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco saw seven match points dissolved from 5-2 up in the second set against a defiant Damir Dzumhur. 

Fifth seed Verdasco, who has reached the fourth round on seven occasions in Paris, eventually clinched a 6-2, 5-7,6-1 scoreline.  

Another former top-10 talent Jack Sock fell to a different fate as Germany’s Daniel Masur claimed a 7-6(6), 6-4 victory over the resurgent American.

Feli's streak comes to an end

Home hopes were boosted by Enzo Couacaud’s 6-4, 7-6(2) passage past German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Fellow Frenchman Geoffrey Blancaneaux earned a second-round tussle with Brit Liam Broady, courtesy of a commanding 6-4, 6-3 scoreline over Mirza Basic. 

2018 boys’ champion Tseng Chun-Hsin dismissed home wildcard Arthur Cazaux 6-1, 6-1 on Court 14 and Chinese Taipei celebrated a second triumph when Jason Jung posted a 6-4, 7-6(8) result versus Belgian youngster Zizou Bergs.

Meanwhile, Feliciano Lopez’s record of 79 consecutive major main draw appearances has finally been halted.

The former world No.12 was shooting for a 22nd successive main draw appearance at Roland-Garros, but was eliminated 6-1, 7-6(4) by Gian Marco Moroni.

The Italian advances to take on Pedro Cachin, who dominated Sumit Nagal in a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

World No.231 Paul Jubb reached step two by edging Christopher Eubanks 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-6(4) to chalk up an intriguing bout with Italian teenager Luca Nardi.