Paris, France, 29 September 2020 | Leigh Rogers

Australia’s Marc Polmans has recorded the biggest win of his career to advance to the second round at Roland Garros.

The 23-year-old from Melbourne made the most of his lucky loser place in the draw, defeating No.38-ranked Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-2 6-2 3-6 6-3 in first-round action today.

It is Polmans’ first career victory against a top 50-ranked opponent.

The No.122-ranked Polmans started strongly, losing only three points on serve and compiling 10 winners to Humbert’s four in the opening set.

The left-handed Frenchman, who entered the tournament at a career-high ranking, continued to have no answers as Polmans raced to a two-set lead.

But the momentum changed in the third set, with the 22-year-old Humbert firing 16 winners and making just eight unforced errors.

“He was really coming at me strong, trying to play aggressive and dictate,” Polmans said.

The Australian withstood the challenge in the fourth set though, refusing to be overwhelmed by the Frenchman’s rising confidence. Polmans established a 5-2 lead, winning all nine net approaches he made.

Polmans closed out victory after three hours and two minutes on court, moments before rain temporarily forced the suspension of matches on all other outside courts. The No.8-ranked Australian finished the match with 39 winners and saved 10 of the 11 break points he faced.

It is the second Grand Slam main draw win of Polmans’ career. He scored his previous career-best win against No.68-ranked Mikhail Kukushkin to reach the Australian Open second round earlier this year.

Polmans next plays Chile’s Cristian Garin, the No.20 seed who won the Roland Garros boys’ singles title in 2013.

Polmans, who had never previously won a tour-level main draw match on clay, is the last Australian remaining in the men’s singles draw.

“(I) didn’t expect to be playing again,” admitted Polmans after losing in the final round of qualifying. “And now to be the last Aussie standing is pretty cool.”

Alexei Popyrin, the Roland Garros 2017 boys’ singles champion, lost his first round match earlier today. South African Lloyd Harris posted a 6-4 6-4 7-6(7) win against the No.108-ranked Australian.

“He served very, very well. I didn’t expect him to serve that well,” conceded Popyrin. “I’m definitely disappointed.”

Aussies in action, day three results:

Men’s singles, first round
[LL] Marc Polmans (AUS) d Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-2 6-2 3-6 6-3
Lloyd Harris (RSA) d Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-4 6-4 7-6(7)

Men’s doubles, first round
[6] Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)/Nicolas Mahut (FRA) d Max Purcell (AUS)/Luke Saville (AUS) 6-1 6-2
[14] Jeremy Chardy (FRA)/Fabrice Martin (FRA) d James Duckworth (AUS)/John Millman (AUS) 6-7(5) 6-4 6-0