Polmans inspired after lucky French break

Marc Polmans, Australia's last man standing at the French Open, has been beaten in a tough four-setter against clay court specialist Cristian Garin.

MARC POLMANS of Australia plays a backhand during the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia.
MARC POLMANS of Australia plays a backhand during the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Marc Polmans is confident of launching into the world's top 100 after his lucky French Open break helped convince him that he belongs there.

Australia's sole survivor at Roland Garros was felled on Thursday night, Polmans scaring world No.19 and clay court specialist Cristian Garin before falling 6-7 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

Polmans served for the third set and had chances on Garin's serve either side of that, but the Chilean lifted when needed in a contest that stretched three hours and 41 minutes.

The Melburnian is set to rise nine spots to a career-high 113 in the world, a major bonus given he lost in the final round of qualifying and was only a last-minute entry into the main draw.

But his impressive first-round win over French talent Ugo Humbert - Polman's first top 50 scalp - and his showing against a man who has won two tournaments and gone 13-3 on clay this year shows he deserves it.

He is one of five Australians ranked between 100 and 200 in the world while five others are inside the top 100, headed by Alex de Minaur (29).

"When you get a bit lucky, you take your opportunities and I'm glad it paid off and now I can build on this and push that ranking towards the top 100," he said.

"My coaches have been telling me my game is there now; it's up to me to believe that, and I do.

"I've played my share of top-100 players and walked away with a couple of wins.

"It's up to me to mentally believe it and today will help my confidence, it's growing."

Polmans reached the second round of the Australian Open before COVID-19 hit and locked him into an intense training block on clay and hard courts in Melbourne.

Holding a career-best cheque of about $140,000 that will prop up his travels and coaching costs, the modest 23-year-old admits it's strange to think how far he's come since.

"It was a very long training block, so for all that work to pay off, and get a chance to play, I'm very happy," he said.

"It's a big step for me ... maybe I went a little passive in the third set and he stepped up his game, really went after it and that's something I'll take away."

Polmans was the last of 11 Australians left in the main draw in Paris that didn't include defending women's champion Ashleigh Barty or top-50 talent Nick Kyrgios, who both skipped it due to health concerns.

Daria Gavrilova and Astra Sharma were the only others to reach the second round, with Polmans the sole Australian male to win a set in the first round.

He will remain in Europe to complete the season before returning to quarantine ahead of the Australian summer.

HOW THE AUSSIES FARED ON DAY FIVE

(Prefix denotes seeding)

Men's singles, second round.

Marc Polmans lost to 20-Cristian Garin 6-7 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-3) 6-4