A raucous applause greeted Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue after downing Lee Jhe-huei/Hsu Ya Ching in straight games for their maiden first round win at the fourth time of asking on home soil.
The world No.7 mixed pair debuted in 2016 but lost in the qualifying rounds the first two years. In 2019, they didn’t make past their opener. Seeded sixth at YONEX French Open 2022, the 21-12 24-22 win comes on their return to Stade Pierre de Coubertin after three years.
“Wow, that was crazy, a huge crowd, and a lot of noise,” exclaimed an ecstatic Delrue.
“I’m feeling all the emotions right now. A long time since we played here and a first win in the main draw. We are here to fight to win.”
Gicquel added: “Being French and playing a home tournament, it adds more pressure but it’s great to secure a first round win.”
Chants of “Dede” and “Thom” were heard around the arena when they were one game point down, on a knife’s edge with a potential decider in sight.
“In the last few tournaments, we always held a lead of five or six points but couldn’t finish those off. I was struggling with my serve and feeling shaky but I knew my family and friends were in the crowd. I wanted to do this for them, for us. The winning feeling at the end was great,” said Gicquel.
The French Open has not produced a home champion since 2005 when Elodie Eymard/Weny Rahmawati won women’s doubles and Nabil Lasmari combined with Indonesian Eny Widiowati for the mixed doubles crown.
Asked if they could go all the way, Gicquel said: “We take things match by match, but of course we’d love to win the title. Anything is possible.”
Meanwhile, Kidambi Srikanth cleared his first round in Paris against compatriot Lakshya Sen, winning 21-18 21-18.
“He’s been playing well this year,” said the former world No.1. “But I’ve had an injury and that was a good test to see where I’m at and understand what areas I need to work on.”
The Indian will play Rasmus Gemke in round two after the Dane defeated Nhat Nguyen in straight games.
WHAT OTHERS SAID: