Nadal and Djokovic cruise but Ward and Wawrinka exit
Originally published on 26/05/14
While much had been made of the decision to schedule the first-round match on Court Suzanne Lenglen rather than Court Philippe Chatrier, Nadal has never lost on Lenglen and he never looked in danger of doing so against world No.279 Ginepri. The eight-time champion raced through the opening set in just 29 minutes and then won the last nine games in a row to seal a comfortable victory and improve his win-loss record at the French Open to 60-1.
Asked about played on Lenglen, Nadal said: "It doesn't really matter a lot. Playing at Roland Garros is always a pleasure for me, a really honour, and it is a special feeling. So all the memories at this place are unforgettable. It doesn't matter if it's Chatrier or Lenglen or another court, to be around here in Roland Garros is always gonna be great. I started in Lenglen this year and it's is a great court."
Nadal, who is bidding to become the first player to win the title five years in a row, will next face Dominic Thiem after he beat Jeremy Chardy in straight sets.
No.2 seed Novak Djokovic also cruised into the second round with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over Joao Sousa in a rain-interrupted match. The Serb passed the time during a rain delay by asking a ballboy to sit alongside him and then chatting to him and offering him a drink.
"We had a nice chat," said Djokovic. "He's a tennis player, so I asked him how long he's playing, and how he's enjoying his time as a ball kid. It was a nice, fun time, something unusual for the Grand Slams. He accepted the offer to sit down, which I didn't think he would do, so he's very spontaneous little boy, and I hope I see him my next match."
Reflecting on his win over world No.42 Sousa, the Serb said: “I played, for most of the match, quite solid. The end of the match was not so nice from my side as I dropped my serve twice. For both of us, it was heavy conditions, ugly tennis, I'm just happy I got through today.''
Stan Wawrinka became the biggest casualty on the men's side as he was beaten 6-4 5-7 6-2 6-0 by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The third seed was bidding to become the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win the Australian Open and French Open in the same year. But he hit 61 unforced in a disappointing display to instead become the first Australian Open champion since Petr Korda in 1998 to lose in the first round at Roland Garros.
Perhaps the story of the day was Grand Slam debutant Facundo Bagnis beating Julien Benneteau 6-1 6-2 1-6 3-6 18-16 in a marathon encounter. Playing his first five-set match, Bagnis saved a match point before being reduced to tears after coming out on top in four hours and 27 minutes.
James Ward’s impressive run came to an end as he lost 4-6 6-4 6-2 6-4 to No.17 seed Tommy Robredo. Ward, who was the first British man to qualify for the French Open since John Lloyd in 1973, put in a battling display against Robredo but in the end the Spaniard’s clay-court experience helped him prevail.
"I thought I played really well throughout the whole match," said Ward. "I fought hard, got back into the match, and, again, had a couple of chances in the fourth. He's one of the toughest players to play on clay in the world. I put him up there top five in the last 10 years, so I am pleased with my efforts. Hopefully I can take this sort of form on to the next few weeks."
Taylor Townsend was another player to make an impressive Slam debut as she won 12 of the last 13 games to beat Vania King 7-5 6-1.
Eugenie Bouchard needed less than an hour to crush Shahar Peer 6-0 6-2 while Sam Stosur also raced through against Monica Puig, winning 6-1 6-1.