At Roland Garros, the French Get Behind Their Own

It came at the end of an awful day for the French players, who dropped all their singles matches. That included Caroline Garcia, the fifth seed and the only seeded Frenchwoman.

Garcia had spoken earlier in the week of trying to capture the enthusiasm of the crowd and use it to her advantage. In the past, she has experienced it as pressure that has caused her to disappoint in front of the hometown fans. She has never made it past the quarterfinals.

“I try and take all of this energy,” she had said of the support. “It’s a great opportunity.”

No such luck. Garcia was cruising, up a set and a break in her second-round match Wednesday against Anna Blinkova of Russia. But she tightened up and frittered away the lead. The crowd helped her draw even at 5-5 in the third set, rattling Blinkova into double faults as Garcia saved eight match points before she lost, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

“She managed the crowd very well and kept very calm,” Garcia said of Blinkova.

There was more pain Thursday as French players lost their last three singles matches, but those uniquely throaty urgings were an accompaniment all the same. When the last Frenchman, Arthur Rinderknech, lost Thursday night to the ninth-seeded Taylor Fritz, the crowd booed Fritz so loudly he could not hear the questions during his on-court interview.

And a year from now, the French fans will push the rock up the hill again, and again, and again.

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