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An all-round awkward day

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Originally published on 30/05/17 00:00

Brit Watch

It is fair to say it has been a shaky start for Brits at this year’s French Open and sadly another player has failed to make it past the first round.

No. 7 seed, Johanna Konta, was knocked out of the tournament by No. 109, Hsieh Su-Wei. In two hours and 15 minutes, the Chinese 31-year-old, won 1-6 7-6(2) 6-4.

Roland Garros appears to be Konta’s Achilles heel as this is the third year running that she has failed to make it past the first round.

Contrastingly, in the men’s game, there was plenty to cheer about as Kyle Edmund and Andy Murray both secured places in the second round.

Edmund smashed his first match – the 22-year-old defeated Gastao Elias 6-3 6-2 7-5. He served up 24 forehand winners compared to Elias who managed just six.

 

Lokoli loses his cool

A rare show of bad sportsmanship was witnessed  on Court 14, resulting in resounding boos from the crowd.

Martin Klizan, who won the five-set-match 7-6(4) 6-3 4-6 0-6 6-4, was denied a handshake by opponent Laurent Lokoli. The Frenchman was a sore loser and refused to come to the net to shake Klizan’s hand, instead waving him away.

In the fifth set, the two had come to verbal blows when a double fault by Lokoli handed Klizan a 5-2 lead, which the Slovakian celebrated with a roar of triumph. While seated in-between games, the two exchanged angry gibes, forcing the umpire to step in.

After the match, Lokoli explained his fury. He said: “If I did not shake hands with him, it is because there is a reason.

“He made out to be hurting his leg for two sets and was then running around like a rabbit in the fifth set. After that he talks to me of respect. It is just disrespectful, what he did.”

 

Plein de bisous!

Yesterday, in a rather awkward and untoward post-match chat, Maxime Hamou, leaned in to kiss his interviewer and Eurosport journalist, Maly Thomas. Earlier that day, the Frenchman, ranked No. 287, lost to Pablo Cuevas 6-3 6-2 6-4.

Broadcast live, much to everyone’s embarrassment, Hamou pulls Thomas towards him before kissing her on the cheek despite her pushing him off.

 

Thomas said of the interview: “It was frankly unpleasant, if it was not live, I would have punched him."

While Thomas’ fellow commentators laughed it off, French politician Cecile Duflot took to Twitter to show her disapproval.

Hamou’s accreditation was revoked by the organisers of the French Open on Tuesday.

 

Del Potro is back

Juan Martin del Potro proved that it’s not all about the Next Gen players in 2017.

Del Potro, after a five-year absence from Paris, beat fellow Argentine Guido Pella in straight sets, winning 6-2 6-1 6-4. In just under two hours, Del Potro comfortably sent 13 aces past his opponent. Last time Del Potro played at the French Open he lost in the quarterfinals to Federer.

“I am so happy to be here again after five years,” said the victor. “The tournament is getting better every day, every year. My backhand is getting better, but I wish I could have done things I was able to do a few years ago. So sometimes it creates a little bit of frustration.

"I have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. We'll see. I try not to make things too complicated, and I try not to set long-term objectives. I just play match by match.”

 

Next Gen one to watch

All the attention may have been on Alexander Zverev, the 20-year-old No.10 seed who beat Djovokic to win in Rome earlier this month, but it was his Next Gen teammate, Karen Khachanov, that advanced to the second round.

Zverev made a shock exit and lost 4-6 6-3 4-6 2-6 to world No. 37, Fernando Verdasco. Meanwhile, in his first ever Roland Garros match, Khachanov, the No. 53, beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4 3-6 7-6(4) 6-1.

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