Gomez Qualifies For First Slam Main Draw At Roland Garros: 'It Was A Roller-Coaster'

Thirty years ago, Andres Gomez lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires at Roland Garros. On Thursday his son, Emilio Gomez, guaranteed that he will play in a Grand Slam main draw for the first time at the same venue.

The 28-year-old Gomez rallied past Kazakhstani Dmitry Popko 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(1). The Ecuadorian trailed 0-3, 30/40 in the deciding set and faced two match points while serving at 4-5, before recovering to triumph after two hours and 31 minutes.

“It was a roller-coaster of ups and downs… It was crazy,” Gomez said. “It was the first time I was in a situation like that, [with] that much nervousness during a match. It was really a big deal for me to get through it.”

This was Gomez’s eighth attempt to qualify for a Grand Slam. He had only previously reached the final round of qualifying once (2014 US Open). The 2019 Tallahassee ATP Challenger Tour champion beat top-seeded Thiago Seyboth Wild in the first qualifying round, but not everything went according to plan on Thursday in Paris.

“I’m going to be honest, I was not feeling 100 per cent physically today. I had a sore back in the warm-up and I was not expecting that because I felt great during the whole week,” Gomez said. “Every time we stopped because of the rain [after the first set and the second set] it was bad for me… I think the will to win was stronger than all the pain I was feeling in that third set. It was well played by me. I played super aggressive and kind of forgot about everything [and] where I was. I was looking for my first main draw appearance at a Grand Slam, [which is] especially [important] here at the French Open.

“It took a lot of running and a lot of guts to pull it out after having two match points against me.”

Seven other players advanced to the main draw on Thursday, led by second seed Pedro Martinez. The Spaniard beat American Ulises Blanch 6-2, 6-3. Entertaining shotmaker Dustin Brown fell one step short when Italian Lorenzo Giustino beat him 6-3, 7-5.

Brit Liam Broady, who was supported by Andy Murray, advanced through qualifying at a major for the first time when he ousted Aussie 12th seed Marc Polmans 7-6(5), 6-4. The lefty will play a Grand Slam main draw for the fourth time, having competed at Wimbledon on three occasions as a wild card.

The other players to make it through Slam qualifying for the first time are Steven Diez, Aleksandar Vukic and Daniel Altmaier. Diez defeated Enzo Couacaud 6-3, 6-4, Vukic beat 15th seed Jason Jung 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and Daniel Altmaier eliminated Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. For Diez, it was his 16th major qualifying attempt.

Austrian Sebastian Ofner also moved on, ousting Swede Elias Ymer 7-6(4), 7-6(5).

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