Alcaraz, Nantes, French rugby, Bordeaux… the tops and flops of the sports weekend

OPINION – The demonstration of Carlos Alcaraz, the first Nantes title in more than twenty years, the descent into the hell of Bordeaux… Discover the peaks and flops of the sports department of Figaro.

OUR TOPS

Alcaraz, it’s getting crazy

The best player in the world is Carlos Alcaraz! The phenomenon never ceases to amaze the tennis world. After dominating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, which was a first on clay in the same tournament, the 19-year-old Iberian prodigy defeated third world player Alexander Zverev, but very comfortably, in the final in the Spanish capital. However, the title holder who remained on 13 consecutive victories at central court Manolo Santana was wiped out in one hour 6-3, 6-1 by the Murcia tornado. His drop shots and kicked services disgusted the German giant. Alcaraz offered himself the fourth trophy of his season, the second Masters 1000 in 2022 after Miami. The pressure seems to have had no effect on him. Full of confidence, the phenomenon, invincible in five finals on the big circuit, is absolutely tireless. His 6 hours of play in two days against the two monsters Nadal and Djokovic did not affect him. At the beginning of the year, he had a great future. Within weeks it became monstrous for the competition. Enough to make him almost the favorite for the next Roland-Garros, even though Nadal remains the best player in clay history and Djokovic, the best together, when he is 100% physically and mentally…

The perfect weekend for French clubs in the European Rugby Cup

Of the six clubs involved in the two European Cups, five qualified for the semi-finals. After extra time – and tension – Toulouse defeated Munster (24-24, 4-2 on pens) to join the last four of the Champions Cup. The same goes for La Rochelle, winner of Montpellier (31-19), and Racing, which beat Sale (41-22). The two clubs will also meet in the next round, which will certify at least one French club in the Champions Cup final. In the Challenge Cup, Lyon defeated Glasgow (35-27) and Toulon beat London Irish (19-18). The two clubs could meet in the final in Marseille on May 27th

The beautiful evening of the people of Nantes

21 years after their last title, 22 years after their last Coupe de France, FC Nantes triumphed again in the “Doyenne” by winning the final against Nice (1-0) on Saturday. A success achieved thanks to “Monsieur Coupe”, its captain Ludovic Blas, leader of an evening when the Canary Islands have earned their crown … and their return to the Europa League. A trophy and an unexpected qualification a year and a half ago, when Antoine Kombouaré was called up as a firefighter in a club on the edge of the abyss. Craftsman of the Nantes Revival, the Kanak was one of those who most appreciated the community of a Nantes people, who came to fill the Stade de France for two-thirds. A celebration that continued this Sunday in the city of the dukes, where more than 15,000 people gathered to celebrate their “heroes”.

Ludovic Blas, Quentin Merlin and the Canary Islands presented the cup to their supporters. SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

Ocon and Russell, passion rises

After rising from 11th to fourth place at Imola, George Russell did it again in Miami. Twelfth at the start, the Briton took fifth place in Florida. The Mercedes driver started on hard rubber, pushed his first stint hoping for a safety car and it arrived. As the only driver to always finish in the top 5 this season, the new Mercedes driver took the opportunity to lose as little time as possible in the pits and offered himself to Bottas and Hamilton at the end of the race. Again he managed to beat his teammate. The fourth time in five races. A comeback that certainly inspired Esteban Ocon, in different proportions. Last on the grid, after wrecking his car in Free Practice 3, Esteban Ocon managed to finish eighth in the race in Miami. A very solid Grand Prix from the Frenchman who wanted to congratulate his mechanics at the finish on the work done. And since happiness never comes alone, Alpine can also be content with Fernando Alonso’s ninth place. Six points on the clock for the French brand in Florida.

OUR FLOPS

Bordeaux getting closer to Ligue 2

Touching the bottom, but still digging. The Girondins de Bordeaux lost again on the outside. A heavy defeat with four goals against, 4-1 against Angers. A total of 89 goals over the course of the season in Ligue 1, for Girondins who are closer than ever to Ligue 2. After Metz’s victory over Lyon (3-2) FCGB is now in last place in the championship of France, four points behind Saint-Etienne, 18th and roadblock. But Bordeaux, in particular, is no longer in control of its fate. If ASSE wins this Wednesday in Nice, in a late game of the 36th day of Ligue 1, the Girondin club will be officially relegated to Ligue 2. Otherwise it will be necessary to offer a reprieve against Lorient, still not saved after his tough defeat to OM (0-3).

French tennis is still digging

To see professional French tennis players in action this week, check out Bordeaux. Many of them are involved in the challenger Primrose (second division tournament). Because on the side of the Masters 1000 in Rome it is zero points. Ugo Humbert, Adrian Mannarino and Benoît Paire did not qualify. And while Gaël Monfils, again the victim of a physical breakdown (heel injury), fails, tricolor tennis offers itself a very sad statistic. For the first time since 1971, that is 51 years, there is no longer a tricolor player at the final table of the prestigious Italian tournament. The decline of French tennis is not a first. The days of lean cows are a reality more than ever as Tsonga and Simon are soon to retire. To date, only Monfils, a member of the top 30, is guaranteed to participate in a Masters 1000, without going through the qualifications or without being invited by the organizers. And in women only Alizé Cornet, 39andis present this week in the Italian capital…

Manchester United say goodbye to the C1

The Red Devils once again illustrated themselves in the bad sense of the word by losing heavily (0-4) on the Brighton lawn on Saturday. Apart from the third loss in 5 games for Rangnick and his family, this new setback puts an end to the hopes of United supporters who still imagined playing the Champions League next season. What should Cristiano Ronaldo give a wish to leave? Perhaps because it would be the first time since the 2002/03 season that the Portuguese would not play in the most prestigious club competitions, of which he is the top scorer in history (141 goals). One thing is certain, future Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag will have a lot of work ahead of him next season, with or without CR7. Until then, there is one last game for the Red Devils to secure 6th place, against Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace.

Ferrari misses the mark

If the two cars are in the front row, we inevitably expect one on the top step at the end of the race. But from the start, the signals were not good for Scuderia Ferrari. Carlos Sainz lacked aggression against Max Verstappen in the first corner, which allowed the Red Bull driver Charles Leclerc to chase and pass him with big strides. In addition, we found the Scuderia’s known shortcomings, especially on pit stops. Both stops were bad and both riders lost time. In the end Ferrari is satisfied with second and third place, but Leclerc sees Verstappen coming back on him, on 19 points. In Maranello we are comforted (or not) with the guidance of the manufacturers, for 4 small points.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz couldn’t resist Max Verstappen. RICARDO ARDUENGO / REUTERS