© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Alexander Bublik hits 47 winners en route to a four-set upset victory against Gael Monfils in the first round at Roland Garros.

Bublik Bounces Monfils At Roland Garros For First Top 10 Win

Kazakh will next play Sonego

Alexander Bublik and Gael Monfils are two of the most entertaining players on the ATP Tour. From flashy winners to incredible touch, both men are capable of producing stunning tennis at any moment. On Monday, Bublik played slightly cleaner tennis to upset the eighth seed 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, advancing to the second round at Roland Garros.

This is the 23-year-old's first Top 10 win after losing his first five matches against players in the elite group. In a match that featured 14 service breaks from 40 opportunities, Bublik advanced after two hours and 35 minutes.

The unseeded right-hander, currently at No. 49 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, earned 25 break points in the match, converting eight of them. Both Bublik and Monfils are capable of big serving, but Bublik was far more successful behind his first serve, winning 78 per cent of those points compared to 64 per cent for Monfils.

It was a shotmaker's delight on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, with plenty of drop shots to be had. But Bublik was more consistent throughout, rallying from a break down in all three sets he won. He was steadier from the baseline, using his forehand to dictate play and his backhand down the line to keep the Frenchman off balance and stopping the eighth seed from controlling the pace of play.

In the middle of the third set, Monfils' drop shots began paying dividends and he appeared poised to push for a remarkable comeback. But it was not enough for the home favourite, who is out in the first round at Roland Garros for the first time since his tournament debut in 2005 (l. to Canas). The Frenchman had not lost before the third round in Paris since 2010.

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Bublik is fresh off a run to the quarter-finals of the Hamburg European Open, where he was a lucky loser. The Kazakh showed signs of his good form by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets there in the second round of the main draw. He carried that level to Paris, where he is into the second round for the second consecutive year. 

Bublik will next play Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who battled past Ecuadorian qualifier Emilio Gomez 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-3 after four hours and seven minutes.

The Italian was down 15/30 on his serve at 3-3 in the decider, but gave his opponent no free points the rest of the way to triumph. Gomez, the son of 1990 Roland Garros champion Andres Gomez, was competing in his first Grand Slam main draw.

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