Who is Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard, rising French star – and new ATP champion?

Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard
Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard has won his first ATP title in Lyon.

Tournaments held the week before Grand Slams can often throw up a surprise or two.

And that was certainly the case in Lyon, where Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard proved a surprise champion.

Few will know much about Mpetshi Perricard, but he has certainly cemented himself as one to watch over the coming months.

We take you through all you need to know about the new Lyon champion.

Junior star

Mpetshi Perricard is one of an array of French young guns rising up the ATP Rankings, and he is perhaps most associated with Arthur Fils – the most established of the players coming through.

Three years ago the duo were boys’ doubles champions at their home Slam, defeating Martin Katz and German Samofalov to win junior Roland Garros together.

In the singles event that year, Mpetshi Perricard was the fifth seed and was one-quarter of the French sweep of semi-finalist in the draw.

And there he lost to his doubles partner, with Fils prevailing in a deciding-set tiebreak to reach the final.

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Challenger success

Since his junior days, the 20-year-old has largely played on the Challenger Tour and has found particular success in recent months – with an overall 4-0 record in finals.

Mpetshi Perricard won a first title in Leon last year but has won three titles at Challenger level this year alone.

This February he beat compatriot Matteo Martineau to win the title in Nottingham and followed that up
with victories in Morelos and Seguros.

Lyon legend

Little was expected of Mpetishi Perricard at his home event in Lyon this week, with the rising star handed a Wildcard into the main draw.

But he started his campaign with a bang, shocking ATP stalwart Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round.

He then benefitted from a second-round walkover but showed no signs of slowing down in the last eight, battling past French qualifier Hugo Gaston in straight sets to reach the last four.

Mpetishi Perricard then stunned second seed Alexander Bublik 6-4, 7-5 to reach the first ATP final of his career.

And there he ultimately just about held his nerve to complete a fairytale run in style, battling past sixth seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(7) to triumph at the ATP 250 event.

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French Open return

All eyes will now be on Mpetishi Perricard at Roland Garros next week, with the 20-year-old playing his home Slam for a second time.

He received a Wildcard 12 months ago, falling to qualifier Genaro Alberto Olivieri after initially leading by two sets to one.

And he has a second opportunity to play at his home major now – and has been handed an intriguing draw.

The Frenchman will face former top-10 star David Goffin in the opening round, and the winner of that then faces Alexander Zverev or Rafael Nadal in round two.