This is the last time that Julien Benneteau dispute the tournament of Bercy.
© AFP/ CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT
The French Julien Benneteau, 83rd in the world, is invited in the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 of Paris-Bercy, in 35 years, beating Friday the N. 5 world, the Croatian Marin Cilic, in straight sets 7-6 (7/5), 7-5. Benneteau, who boasts a wild card, is now in its third feat in a row after his victories over the Belgian David Goffin (No. 10) in the eighth-final and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the previous round. This will be his second participation in a semi-final of Masters 1000 after Cincinnati in 2014. He is the first Frenchman to reach the last square with an invitation from Michaël Llodra in 2012. “I don’t realize it. I was already happy after Goffin, but I still increased my physical and mental level,” he said on the court.
Benneteau has poorly started the match and had to save a ball of the first set at 5-3 (double fault from Cilic) after having been led 5-2. He has completely turned the situation by resisting the back of the court and pushing the Croatian to the fault. The Bressan had announced before the tournament that he was playing for the last time in Bercy, planning to retire in the year 2018. It is not his first feat in front of the parisian public, since in 2009 he had beaten Roger Federer. But he had never managed to get past the knockout stages.
11th final ?
He will face American Jack Sock (22nd in the world), or the Spaniard Fernando Verdasco (39th) for a place in the final. This would be the 11th of his career on the circuit of the ATP, and by far the most prestigious (he lost the first ten). Long ranked among the best French (he was 25th in the world in 2014), Benneteau has been a very difficult time following an operation at the adductor in 2015. He fell to the 696e place in the world in January 2016, before attempting and succeeding his return.
Also a very good specialist of double, Bressan has been rewarded with selection in the Davis Cup in march last to face the Great Britain. Associated with Nicolas Mahut, he had given a point to France. His fitness may give ideas to Yannick Noah in three weeks of the final against Belgium. Cilic, winner of US Open in 2014 and again a finalist at Wimbledon last July, was the last top 10 in a race in Paris-Bercy after the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal on Friday for a knee injury.