The past year on the court has been a memorable one for Ugo Humbert, and now the young Frenchman has notched one of his most impressive results to date: a straight-set win over world No. 13 Borna Coric in Marseille.
With the victory against the second seed, Humbert advanced to his first tour-level quarterfinal. He has the chance to go even further at the Open 13 Provence as he faces qualifier Matthias Bachinger for a semifinal berth.
The recipient of a wild card into the tournament, Humbert opened up play with a first-round triumph against former world No. 10 and 2014 champion Ernests Gulbis. The Latvian entered the match with more wins this year (four) than Humbert had over the course of his career at the tour level (three), but was unable to counter his opponent’s power on the indoor court.
Coric, who hasn’t been able to recapture his 2018 second-half form yet this year, also struggled against the hard-hitting left-hander. The Croat was the highest-ranked player Humbert has faced this year, but went down rather meekly to the world No. 75 as he was broken three times.
Humbert entered the tournament with a fair amount of momentum on his side, having just won the Challenger tournament in Cherbourg, France, the week prior that brought him to a personal best in the rankings. In the final, he toughed out the former world No. 38 Steve Darcis in three sets to claim his fourth career title at that level.
Last summer is when it became evident that the Frenchman was going to become a force to be reckoned with—especially on faster surfaces. In July, he reached three straight Challenger finals, winning the last of them in Segovia, Spain. Going to the US Open with 13 wins in his 15 prior matches, Humbert qualified for the tournament and won a round before 2016 winner Stan Wawrinka halted his charge. The 20-year-old still finished the season strong with two more Challenger titles out of three finals, including his last event of the year in Andria, Italy.
Humbert was the first alternate at last year’s Next Gen Finals, the spotlight for the game’s best and brightest. Already this year, he’s among the front-runners for a place in the draw. If he’s able to maintain this pace in his ascent up the rankings, he could be looking at even greater opportunities down the line.
ATP Rio De Janeiro
• Starting Monday 2/18, at 2:30 pm ET, catch live coverage of the Rio Open featuring Dominic Thiem, Fabio Fognini, and Diego Schwartzman.
• Watch Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova live from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships starting Saturday, 2/16 at 3:00 am ET
• Tennis Channel Plus features live coverage of the Hungarian Ladies Open beginning Monday, 2/18 8:00 am ET
ATP Delray Beach
• Watch Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner and Frances Tiafoe live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Tuesday, 2/19 at 12:30 am ET.
• See Karen Khachanov, Borna Coric and Stefanos Tsitsipas live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday 2/18, 8:30 am ET