No. 19 seed Alex de Minaur has crashed out of The French Open in the first round, suffering a heartbreaking 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-7(4-10) defeat to rising French star Hugo Gaston.
The top ranked Aussie in the men’s draw got off to a quick start, taking the first set 6-4. But the Demon had his back against the wall from that point onwards, with the 21-year-old Frenchman blazing away to take the second and third sets in quick succession.
De Minaur rediscovered his groove in the fourth set to take it 6-0, forcing a deciding set.
The Aussie carried his momentum into the fifth, racing away to a 3-0 lead, but up against a raucous French crowd who were firmly getting behind their rising French youngster, the Demon was seemingly overwhelmed and soon found himself a break down in the fifth.
Gaston served for the match twice, but Demon broke back on both occasions to eventually force a super tiebreaker, which he would go on to lose 4-10.
In his post match press-conference, De Minaur spoke of how much of an impact the crowd had on the match:
“I think there’s a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countryman, which is completely fine and it’s great,” de Minaur said.
“I’m sure for him it was an amazing atmosphere. He enjoyed every second of it but there’s a line.
“When I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there’s a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.
“But good for him for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”
The defeat sees De Minaur’s exit Roland Garros in the first round for the fourth time in his career.
Fellow Australian John Millman was also ousted in the opening round, fighting hard as he always does, but ultimately going down to No. 27 seed Sebastian Korda 1-6, 5-7, 6-7(6).
Millman was easily outplayed in the first set, but more than held his own in the two sets to follow, proving a more than difficult customer for the American seed.
Millman saved three match points in the third set to force a tiebreaker, and then had set points of his own to extend the contest, but ultimately succumbed to the rising American star.
With De Minaur and Millman exiting the tournament, it leaves just one Aussie alive in the men’s singles draw - Jason Kubler, who will face No. 10 seed Cameron Norrie on Wednesday in Paris.
Ajla Tomljanovic and Daria Saville are still alive on the women’s side of things.