Ugo Humbert felt uplifted this season to earn the Challenger title at Cherbourg, France over Steve Darcis. He thought it would be a great warm-up to do well at the French Open, his home country tournament. But nothing was so far from the truth.
He was a bit embarrassed when he bowed in the first round in the singles and doubles at Roland Garros. He didn't want to go through the tour this way and might have promised himself to up his level to gain confidence and rankings right now.
He chose Wimbledon to start making the difference. It was his first time coming to the grass court extravaganza and knowing that he didn't exactly want his only dessert to be strawberries and cream, he indeed craved and got more.
Despite the fact of being ranked no. 66 on the ATP tour, 'a match can change on a dime', ESPN Commentator Chris Evert has said many times. It did change for Ugo Humbert tremendously. The second round he had met up with another Frenchman Gael Monfils for their first encounter.
He kept hopes alive on possibly coming out a winner but knew Monfils was never a pushover and he would have to bring his 'A' game to defeat the iconic comrade. The elder Frenchman went up two sets ahead but Humbert was determined and made vital points at the right time to win the third set.
Consistency was an important factor now and he brought it on to Monfils who appeared to not have the dynamic plays like the first two sets. Humbert took full advantage and put his energies all out there to win the fourth set and even moved up to lead 3-0 in the fifth.
At the break, Monfils had to seek a trainer for his ailing ankle. Afterwards, it was a 'no go' for him and he had to give Humbert the match. 'A win is a win' and the young Frenchman happily went to the third round playing the spirited NextGen Felix Auger-Aliassime.
They are both good friends of which never played each other before. "A great player, a good friend. It won't be easy, but it will be a great match," Humbert explained. He carried the determination and tactics into the third round and grabbed the first set win over his Canadian opponent.
Fighting for every point, opening up the court, Humbert started losing his consistency and focus as Auger-Aliassime went up 5-2 in the second set in good fashion. The Canadian admitted that he didn't know why he couldn't put away the set, maybe from playing a friend but Humbert took advantage and played gritty to win the second set.
Anything is possible and he pushed himself to make remarkable shots and rallying win. Auger-Aliassime started making simple mistakes and paid dearly. It was match point where the Canadian blasted a forehand wide to give the third round match to Humbert 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.
Two back-to-back wins over first meet-ups with his opponents. Humbert felt happy and lucky to have played so well on his first time at Wimbledon. Will he be so fortunate as he enters the round of 16 with Novak Djokovic? This is incredible.
Three opponents that he had first meetings with and two he has defeated! Can Humbert make it three in a row? If he stays consistent and brings his 'A' game onto the court...anything is possible!