Back in 1987, the inaugural edition of the Open Sud de France was held in Lyon, with Yannick Noah lifting the first-place trophy, much to the delight of the Gallic crowd.
More than 30 years later, Frenchmen continue to shine at the event—in fact, they perform better there than any other player does on their “home” turf.
From Gael Monfils reaching the Lyon final in 2005 to Lucas Pouille capturing the title in Montpellier last year, the French have been well represented in the championship match. At least one of them has made it to the final every year the tournament’s been held for the longest current streak on the ATP Tour. (There was a skipped year in 2011.)
The Atlanta Open and its precursor, the RCA Championships in Indianapolis, is next on the list, with at least one American advancing to the final every year since 2009.
The most prolific winner of the Open Sud de France has been Richard Gasquet, who has captured four of his 15 career titles there with the most recent one coming in 2016. He defeated 2002 winner Paul-Henri Mathieu in the final, marking the third time he topped one of his countrymen for the grand prize.
Last year, the tables were turned on Gasquet as he fell to Pouille in the final. Pouille put on an inspired performance all week.
A number of Frenchmen have made a solid showing this week, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jeremy Chardy reaching the quarterfinals, for example.
Those two are slated to play each other next, guaranteeing a Frenchman will advance to the semifinals. They’re in the top half of the draw with Pouille, the No. 1 seed this year who’s favored to make it at least that far. If he does, a French finalist is ensured, keeping the streak alive.
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