#NextGenATP Frenchman held match point when opponent was forced to stop

Arthur Fils broke new Grand Slam ground in dramatic circumstances on Thursday afternoon at Wimbledon.

The #NextGenATP Frenchman reached the third round at a major for the first time after Hubert Hurkacz retired from an engrossing clash on No. 2 Court. Fils held match point at 7-6(2), 6-4, 2-6, 6-6 (9/8) when Hurkacz retired due to a leg injury he had suffered just three points prior.

“It’s very tough to win a match like this against a friend,” said Fils in his on-court interview. “We were playing super good in the fourth set. We had some great points, and he was jumping everywhere. I’m really sorry for him and I hope he will recover very quickly. Me, I’m focused on the next round.”

At 7/7 in the fourth-set tie-break, Hurkacz grabbed the back of his right leg after pulling off a full-length dive for a volley. His shot dribbled over the net and Fils missed a very makeable ball into the net to hand the Pole a set point at 8/7. But Hurkacz’s efforts came at a cost as he received physio treatment on the court at spot of his dive, before hopping to his chair.

After the physio further massaged Hurkacz’s leg, the seventh seed returned to court, but appeared severely hindered by the injury. Fils promptly won the next two points before Hurkacz retired from the pair's maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head clash.

The 20-year-old Fils will next take on Tomas Machac or Roman Safiullin in the third round at the All England Club. It will be just his 10th tour-level match on grass, a surface on which he is growing more comfortable. Two weeks ago, the No. 34-ranked Fils reached his maiden ATP Tour grass quarter-final in Halle.

“First of all I didn’t really like the grass,” said Fils after moving past Hurkacz. “I’m feeling that I’m playing pretty good and I’m really happy to be in the third round. I will try my best to be in the second week.”

Progressing through another round at Wimbledon has also boosted Fils’ lead in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah. The Frenchman, who reached the championship match at the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF, is now 311 points clear of second-placed Jakub Mensik in the Live Race.

Hurkacz’s fellow Top 10 stars Alex de Minaur and Grigor Dimitrov did advance on Thursday, although the nature of their second-round wins could hardly have been more different.

The ninth-seeded De Minaur breezed past Jaume Munar 6-2, 6-2, 7-5 to register his 35th tour-level victory of the season. The Australian converted eight of 17 break points he earned in his two-hour, five-minute win against the World No. 63 Munar. He will take on Thanasi Kokkinakis or Lucas Pouille next as he bids to chases his second fourth-round appearance at Wimbledon.

The 10th-seeded Dimitrov was in real trouble in his match against #NextGenATP star Shang Juncheng, but the Bulgarian rallied for a 5-7, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 triumph. Shang, who on Monday became the first Chinese man to win a match at Wimbledon in the Open Era, was unable to maintain his excellent start in the pair’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head clash.

A semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2014, Dimitrov will face Gael Monfils in this year’s third-round. The 37-year-old Frenchman overcame three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-6(3) in a match that began on Wednesday evening.