Murray starts with win
Murray burst into life in the third set and produced his best clay-court tennis of the season. Murray played with attacking verve and his forehand became more prominent as he pulled away from his streaky opponent.
“Last year was a great year for me here,” remarked Murray after the match. “Each year since the juniors, I’ve been trying to come back to do better and better. Last year was great reaching the final and also Bercy was where I became No.1 for the first time. I’ll obviously try to go far again.”
Stan Wawrinka smashed his way past Jozef Kovalik to record a 6-2 7-6(6) 6-3 success. The 2015 winner encountered resistance in the second set, but he held firm and stretched his winning run to five matches.
“I enjoyed it very much,” said Wawrinka. “It was not necessarily easy after I played in Geneva until Saturday to get into gear. I’m feeling good, I’m playing good tennis and I’m happy to be back in Paris.
“The difference is I got some matches, some wins, and then you find your confidence, you start to play better. I have been practising well. I’m happy to have won some big matches.”
Juan Martin Del Potro, playing his first match at the French Open in five years, defeated fellow Argentine, Guido Pella, 6-2 6-1 6-4. The former US Open champion outgunned his Davis Cup teammate and strolled into the second round without expending too much energy.
Reflecting on his winning return to Paris after a lengthy absence, Del Potro said: “It’s never easy when you have to play a friend, a guy like Guido. We have a great relationship. Of course I would like to play another player, for sure, but that’s the draw. I got lucky because I played a very good match today. I’m loving playing this tournament again after five years.”
Nick Kyrgios defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-6(4) 6-3 to record his first ever Top 50 win at Roland Garros. In a one-sided affair, the German’s clay-court artistry proved to be no match for the Australian’s brawn.
“There were a lot of question marks on how I would perform today,” remarked Kyrgios. “I’ve been struggling physically and not feeling that confident. I saw the draw and I thought it was going to be very tough. Kohlschreiber has been around for a long time now and he knows what to do to win matches. I think he’s pretty comfortable on the clay.
“I served really well today [20 aces] at important times in the match, and I thought I just played the right style of game to win with what I had. Hopefully, I can keep going.”
It took two days to complete, but Fernando Verdasco showed that he can still mix it with the best as he ousted Alexander Zverev 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2. The veteran Spaniard bullied his younger opponent with his vicious forehand and thoroughly merited the victory.
“I’m super happy,” said the delighted 33-year-old. “It is my 14th year here in Paris so it is a pleasure for me to be playing here still. It is always a pleasure to play on this historic court against a younger player like Alexander, who just won Rome.
“I’ve been practising very hard the last couple of weeks and preparing for this tournament as much as possible. I think that with this victory, a little bit of that work came through.”
There was a fine four-set win for Hyeon Chung over Sam Querrey and he will be joined in the round of 64 by Martin Klizan – who departed Court 14 to the sound of jeers after edging a stormy five-set encounter with Laurent Lokoli.
Kyle Edmund, Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils, Paolo Lorenzi, Jeremy Chardy, Kevin Anderson, Andy Murray, Nicolas Almagro, Karen Khachanov and Alexandr Dolgopolov are also into the next round.
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