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France’s Rufin beats Argentina’s Schwank in surprise victory

Text by Emmanuel VERSACE , , FRANCE 24 special correspondent at the French Open

Latest update : 2009-05-26

By winning his way to the next round under a scorching sun, Guillaume Rufin, ranked 599 in the world, was a surprise hit at Roland Garros. The 19-year-old Frenchman ably defeated the Argentine Eduardo Schwank in three sets (6-1, 6-3, 6-3).

Unknown at 18, he may well have become a star on the eve of his 19th birthday. Guillaume Rufin, who turned 19 on Tuesday, gave himself an early birthday gift on Monday when he won his first match of the Paris Open against Argentina’s Eduardo Schwank.

Well over 500 places separated the two players in the rankings, but that didn’t stop the young Frenchman from clinching the match in three rounds (6-1, 6-3, 6-3). Impressively relaxed on court, Rufin admitted after the game he was in fact overwhelmingly moved by his victory.


Support from the stands


“Inside it isn’t easy. I was afraid but didn’t want to show it,” explained the Gallic rising star, new to the enthusiastic show of support from the stands. “It feels strange when the public cheers and chants your name. I’m not used to it. It’s moving, but I had to try not to think about it, to play in my bubble.”


His game was applauded by fellow French tennis player Paul-Henri Mathieu, who also qualified for the second round. “Beating Schwank in three sets is impressive. I played against him last year and won after a rough game of four tight sets. I hope Rufin keeps it up.”


The other French players that qualified for the second round are Jeremy Chardy, Marion Bartoli and Aravane Rezai.


Date created : 2009-05-25