French Open: Herbert/Mahut defeat Johnson/Sock in straight sets to remain the last French hope

French Open: Herbert/Mahut defeat Johnson/Sock in straight sets to remain the last French hope

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time at the French Open with a straight-sets victory over Steve Johnson and Jack Sock.

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Sixth seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut moved on into the quarterfinals at Roland Garros 6-4, 6-3 against Steve Johnson and Jack Sock. With this win and Caroline Garcia's loss in the singles, Herbert and Mahut became the last French representatives in this competition alongside Edouard Roger-Vasselin who partners Rohan Bopanna

Herbert/Mahut come from a break down to seal the set

Herbert started off the match with a hold serve. On the Johnson serve a breakpoint was brought up at 30-40 after he missed an overhead. But a powerful unreturnable serve sent the game to deuce before Johnson and Sock held at the second time of asking for 1-1.

Mahut made it another comfortable service game for him and Herbert as they edged out ahead at 2-1. The Americans would once again be made to save a break point chance at 30-40 with the 36-year-old placing a forehand winner down the line. For the second time, they managed to save the break point to hold as all players came through unscathed, 2-2.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nico Mahut discuss tactics in between points (Photo: Twitter)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nico Mahut discuss tactics in between points (Photo: Twitter)

The French pair came under trouble for the first time with the Americans earning a break point as Johnson's deep return led to Mahut skying the return. Sock's forehand return forced Herbert to net as the American's broke. But they couldn't consolidate and allowed the French pair to break straight back for 3-3 thanks to an unlucky net cord by Johnson.

In a lengthy game, the unseeded American duo had a break point chance but the French escaped and held for 4-3. Three games passed and with both teams holding, the sixth seeds broke the Americans to win the set as Herbert's death touch at the net led to a Johnson forehand error. 

French pair send the Americans home as they advance to the quarterfinals 

The French pair started the second in the same way as the first, by holding serve. But this time, the Americans needed to respond as they were down a set. Johnson and Sock were sent to deuce but came through to stay in touch. The Americans continued to try and force the game by sending the French pair to deuce but they were up to the task and held serve to stay ahead at 2-1.

In the fourth game, Mahut showed excellent defense as Sock netted a volley to go down a break point at 30-40. The 25-year-old then had more strokes of bad luck as another attempted volley at the net went long off the baseline as he and Johnson were broken for 3-1. 

Pierre-Hugues Herbert strikes a backhand shot with partner Nico Mahut watching on (Twitter)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert strikes a backhand shot with partner Nico Mahut watching on (Twitter)

Herbert comfortably consolidated to make it 4-1 after just 19 minutes of the set played. The Americans attempted to get back into the match as they continuously held serve but the Frenchmen being a set and a break-up rode the momentum and began playing free-flowing tennis to find themselves serving for a place in the quarterfinals at 5-3.

With the 27-year-old serving him and Mahut played the perfect game by racing out to a love-40 lead and earning triple match points. A solid unreturnable Herbert first serve clinched the match for the Frenchmen who were the last team to qualify for the quarterfinals. 

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