For her last Roland-Garros, Carla Suarez will only have held one round. Despite great resistance and after having served to win the match, the Spaniard, back to competition after beating cancer, was eliminated Tuesday by the American Sloane Stephens (59th), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) 6-4.
The former world No. 6, who fell to 118th place, will however have fought to the end, taking advantage of the many unforced errors (54) of the American to pocket the first set, before serving to win the match. in the second inning at 5-4. But the face reddened and the legs sometimes seeming a little heavy, Carla Suarez Navarro ended up giving up the round, then the last set against Stephens, former finalist in Paris and winner of the US Open 2017. Not without having twice reassembled a late station wagon.
“I knew that if I didn’t finish in two sets it would be difficult for me. I was a little tired, that’s for sure. But I really had fun and had a good level in this match. (…) I feel proud of what I have accomplished after these difficult months. But I am also disappointed to have lost. Because every time I come on a court, it’s to win, ”explained the Spaniard at a press conference.
Private to the public
But his farewell to Roland-Garros, thirteen years after his first appearance, were therefore made in the anonymity of the Parisian night on a Simonne-Mathieu court deprived of public because of curfew. “This is not the game that I sincerely dreamed of. I took advantage of it, but I could have enjoyed it a lot more with the public. I was so sad when they had to leave, ”said the Canarian. She will nevertheless have left the court under the applause of her opponent and the few people still present.
“Carla, I am so happy to have been able to share the court with you and to see you in good health with us in Paris. You are an inspiration and we are all so happy that you are with us on the circuit again, ”Stephens tweeted late in the evening.
For the 32-year-old Spaniard, the main thing has always been to be able to play again in her favorite tournament. “I wanted to end my career on a short, not from a hospital bed,” she kept saying throughout her treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. And nine months after being diagnosed with the disease, she did.
“I really didn’t want to miss Roland Garros for the world,” Suarez once again stressed on Tuesday evening. His wish now is to continue his farewell tour of tennis at Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics before retiring at the US Open.
Sloane Stephens continues on her way to Roland-Garros. In the next round, she will face No.9 seed Karolina Pliskova.