Tokyo (AFP)

There are no more French competitors in the tennis tournaments of the Tokyo Olympics after the eliminations of Ugo Humbert and Jérémy Chardy in the quarter-finals on Thursday, defeated respectively by Karen Khachanov and Alexander Zverev, the German who will challenge world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals on Friday.

The Blues du tennis are done with the Olympics-2020 and will therefore leave without medals, with some disappointments, especially on the women's side where, with the exception of Fiona Ferro, they were all eliminated from the start, while the greatest chance of blue medals on paper, the pair of doubles Nicolas Mahut / Pierre-Hugues Herbert, did not go beyond the first round.

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By placing two of its representatives in the quarterfinals, French tennis did little better in Tokyo than in Rio, where only Gaël Monfils had reached this level.

The Brazilian stay of French tennis had also been marred by two controversies: one around Kristina Mladenovic who had incriminated the French Tennis Federation for a story of outfit color which, according to her, would have harmed her concentration, the another concerning Benoît Paire, excluded from the France team in the middle of the Games for not having "respected the rules" by not staying in the Olympic village.

In Tokyo, the French clan, weakened by recent underperformance in Grand Slam, on the contrary appeared united and delighted to be there.

And the performances followed, with Chardy and Humbert finding themselves in the quarterfinals, Humbert even signing a great victory against the world No. 4, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the round of 16.

- "Really special" -

"The Games are really special. It's not a tournament like any other. It's wonderful to be able to meet all the athletes. There is a great atmosphere. I didn't quite know what to do with me. wait because these are my first Games. Whatever happens, I know I will have lots of good memories, "Chardy, 34, said on Tuesday after his victory over Aslan Karatsev.

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But after two matches in three sets against Aslan Karatsev and Liam Broady, Chardy was no match for an intractable Zverev, especially on service (11 aces), and winner 6-4, 6-1.

Humbert, also physically tested after extended matches, had been dominated a little earlier by the Russian competing under the neutral banner Karen Khachanov (25th), 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-3.

"I'm so happy to be there, to win my first matches with the Blues jersey, I had fantastic moments. Since I was little, if I had been told that I would be in the quarterfinals of the Olympics, I would have signed right away, "said the 23-year-old Frenchman.

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Khachanov will face him for a place in the final, the Spaniard Pablo Carreno who defeated world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, who appeared all week very overwhelmed by the Tokyo heat.

The Russian competing under a neutral banner, very marked physically this Thursday on the N.1 court despite a match started at nightfall, committed 26 unforced errors and only hit 12 winning shots.

The other semi-final will pit Zverev against world No.1 and big favorite of the Olympic tournament Novak Djokovic, in search of the "Golden Slam", the four Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold, who easily got rid of the Japanese. Kei Nishikori, 6-2, 6-0, in 1 h 12 min.

© 2021 AFP

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