Lucas Pouille, last hope tricolor at the Australian Open

After two strong matches, Amélie Mauresmo's new student faces Saturday night Australian guest Alexei Popyrin.

The World with AFP Posted today at 10h23, updated at 10h23

Time to Reading 2 min.

Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov, Saturday, January 19, in Melbourne.
Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov, Saturday, January 19, in Melbourne. Andy Brownbill / AP

He remains the boss, but his supremacy was slightly reached, Saturday, December 19 in Melbourne. The world number one, Novak Djokovic, dropped a set against the young Canadian Denis Shapovalov (27e) in the third round of the Australian Open. That had not happened to the Serbian since twenty-four rounds in Grand Slam.

Novak Djokovic led however 4-1 in this set and was only two games of victory. But Denis Shapovalov, one of the incarnations of the young world tennis guard, made a nice comeback to come and slightly worry his opponent. The response of "Djoko" was quick: he inflicted in the wake of the Canadian southpaw a scathing 6-0.

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With this success, the 31-year-old Serb is guaranteed to remain on the throne of world tennis after the Australian fortnight. A year ago, he lost in the round of 16 to South Korea's Hyeon Chung. His next opponent, the young Russian Daniil Medvedev (19e), did not concede a single set in his first three rounds (Harris, Harrison, Goffin). But at 22, he will live his first round of 16 Grand Slam.

Unlike Djokovic, Kei Nishikori, world number 9, accelerated in the third round. After two games in five sets, the Japanese dismissed the physically impaired Portuguese Joao Sousa in three sets of 7/6, (8/6), 6-1, 6-2.

Apulse in front of Popyrin

The suspense remains however full on the presence of French in the round of 16. Only one French player remaining: Lucas Pouille (31e). After two strong matches, Amélie Mauresmo's new student faces Saturday night Australian guest Alexei Popyrin (149).e). In case of victory, he will reach his first knockout round in the Grand Slam for sixteen months (US Open 2017). No doubt it would do a lot of good morale the 25-year-old, whose sad season 2018 saw him slip from the top 10 outside the top 30.

Lucas Pouille against Gilles Simon, October 30, 2018, at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Rolex Paris Masters.
Lucas Pouille against Gilles Simon, October 30, 2018, at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Rolex Paris Masters. ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP

Opposite to Milos Raonic (17e), Pierre-Hugues Herbert (55e) did not deserve but could not do much, beat 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6): on the other side of the net, the formidable Canadian server hit aces and posted 85% success behind his first balls. Despite much visible progress, the 27-year-old Alsatian is still chasing the first knockout round in his career.

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The expected Williams sisters

On the women's side, will Melbourne attend the round of 16 at the 31ste episode of the rivalry of more than twenty between the Williams sisters? Serena filled her part of the contract without flinching in the afternoon, 6-2, 6-1 in sixty-seven minutes, at the expense of young Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska (57e). Back to the competition four months after her explosive final at the US Open, the 37-year-old American champion, looking for a 24e crown in Grand Slam to equal the all-time record set by Australia's Margaret Court, has " not yet " regained his best level but is " on the road ".

The mission of Venus is much more complex: the oldest of the Williams sisters (38 years) is measured at the world number one Simona Halep. If the duel between sisters materialized, it would intervene precisely twenty-one years after the very first one, in the second round of the Australian Open in 1998. The fratricidal confrontation had then ended with a victory of Venus.

In the morning, Naomi Osaka (world number 4) and Elina Svitolina (number 7), winners of the last two most prestigious tournaments, the US Open for the first and the Masters for the second, have each returned bad situations embedded.

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