This time he broke his glass ceiling. On his tenth Grand Slam attempt, Benjamin Bonzi (26, 48th in the world) qualified Thursday for the first time in his career in the third round by defeating Pablo Carreño Busta (15th) in five sets (4-6 , 4-6, 7-6 [7-5]6-1, 7-6 [10-4]) and 4h11 of play.
Always formidable on hard, as proven by his two semi-finals at the US Open (2017 and 2021) and his first victory in the Masters 1000 last year in Montreal, the Spaniard had logically taken control against the recent finalist of the tournament in Pune (India). But Lionel Zimbler’s pupil never seemed resigned and fought a courageous and diligent fight.
In a polar cold
Caught cold by an entry break, Bonzi fought back as “PCB” served for the set at 5-3. But when it was time to equalize at 5-5, two fouls caused at 30A sealed the fate of the first set. The second, played in an increasingly polar cold at nightfall, was an almost exact copy, the Frenchman this time giving up his face-off at 2-1 never to see it again.
But, encouraged by his clan where one of his training partners, Laurent Lokoli, had taken place, alongside Martin Vaisse who accompanies the players of the Zimbler team in Australia, Bonzi postponed the deadline. At 5-4 on his opponent’s serve, he offered himself two third set balls at 15-40, the first saved by a winning service-forehand sequence, the second by a gross fault in the exchange of the French. In the next game, Bonzi in turn saved two balls at 5-6 before starting the tie-break that followed in the best way as he broke away 4-1, then 6-3. Carreño Busta saved two set points but on the third an ace from Bonzi reduced the gap after 2h19 of play, at the end of a smoothly led set (70% of first serves and twice as many winning shots as unforced errors, 22-11).
The first time he comes up a handicap of two sets
In the fourth set, the Spaniard took the hit. Conversely, completely liberated, Bonzi let his shots go with fluidity and precision. With only one unforced error for 11 winning strokes, while the report of his opponent was negative (12-10), the punishment fell in 33 minutes: 6-1.
The hardest part was still to be done for Bonzi who had two victories in the only two fifth sets he had played but had never come back two sets of handicap until then. Brandishing his fist in the direction of the well-stocked French quarter who warmed the stands of this court n°8 with a typically “annex” atmosphere, Bonzi saved four break points in the third game, then two others at 4-4 mentally. Despite 3h40 of struggle, he kept pushing his shots and opening the court at the slightest initiative.
De Minaur in the third round
At 5-4, he made his qualities as a raiser and defender speak for himself to get five match points. He missed the first with a backhand return that was too long on the second ball, Carreño Busta saved the other four by going up to the net and then scoring two service winners and an ace.
At 5-5, Bonzi dismissed another break point. The two men could not separate other than the super tie-break that the Frenchman took from the right end, breaking away 4-1, then 6-3 and finally 9-4. The sixth match point was the good one. After a set of one hour and 19 minutes, Benjamin Bonzi collapsed on the court. He had just qualified for the 3rd round where he will face a local hero, Alex de Minaur, 24th in the world, who beat Adrian Mannarino a few minutes later.