The 29-year-old Pouille made it past all three qualifying rounds as well as the first round of the main draw, something he hadn't done in a Grand Slam since the 2019 US Open. He hadn't won on the ATP Tour since losing in the second round of the Madrid Masters 1000 in May 2022, and this year he had previously played only on the Challenger Tour, where he won just three matches for four losses.
But it is Norrie who will face the Italian Lorenzo Musetti (18th) or the Russian Alexander Shevchenko (87th) for a place in the 8th final.
"It's great to see Lucas come back, go for laps and see him have fun," said the Briton, apologizing to the public of the court Suzanne-Lenglen for having "eliminated another Frenchman", after Benoît Paire in the first round.
On Wednesday, Pouille was immediately overwhelmed. The first set lasted only 26 minutes without the Frenchman being able to stop the point count in favor of his opponent.
In the second set, Pouille rebalanced the proceedings a little, managing to be threatening on the stake of his opponent.
"Come on, it's still catchable," a child told him from the stands.
He got his first break balls in the second game, before managing to take the opponent's serve to get back to 2-2.
He then regained confidence and, demanding the support of the public, he managed some very nice points. But not enough to destabilize Norrie who regained control of the game.
Starting 3-3, the Briton won eight games out of the nine played to win the second set and break away 5-1 in the third.
He then served for the first time for the match but, in a baroud of honor, Pouille managed to postpone the deadline to return to 5-3.
He then saved a first match ball before offering himself a break ball, but it was ultimately Norrie who had the final say on his second match ball.
Moved, it was by applauding the audience who cheered that Pouille left the court Suzanne-Lenglen.
Semifinalist of the Australian Open in 2019, the former world 10th dropped to 675th this week, has never gone beyond the third round at Roland-Garros.
© 2023 AFP