The favourites are through
Originally published on 29/05/17 00:00
It was another scorching day at the French Open as temperatures reach 28C by mid-morning.
As expected, Djokovic and Nadal both won their first round matches, verifying their status as the tournament favourites to win at this year’s French Open.
Last year’s champion won 6-3 6-4 6-2 against Spaniard Marcel Granollers while Nadal crushed the French No.6, Benoit Paire, 6-1 6-4 6-1.
Amusingly, Paire took a tumble at the net but was helped up by a very gentlemanly Rafa.
Check out Nadal's trick shot during his Roland Garros warm-up:
Jack Sock, one of the players to star in our men to watch list, crashed out of Roland Garros, losing in straight sets. The 14th-seeded American lost to Jiri Vesely 7-5 7-5 6-3. It was a match full of firsts – it is Vesely’s first ATP tour win over Sock. Sock had also beaten the Czech on clay two weeks prior to this match and it is the first time in the American’s career that he has lost in the first round of the French Open.
Another unexpected loss in the women's tournament
The No.24 seed Daria Gavrilova, slumped to a 7-6(4) 1-6 6-4 defeat to Elise Mertens. Despite a successful year on clay, including a final in Strasbourg and quaterfinal in Rome, Gavrilova lost her nerve. In the deciding set, the Australian was up a break at 4-3 but Mertens was the stronger player in the final few games. Mertens, 21, only qualified for her first Grand Slam main draw last year at the 2016 US Open.
Aljaz Bedene, the British No.3, took the second set in just 18 minutes, beating the American Ryan Harrison 6-4 6-0 3-6 6-1. Bedene, who became the first Brit to reach round two of Roland Garros, looked a natural on the clay. But it was much to Harrison’s frustration who was left scurrying around the court.
The Brit is in fact 10 places lower than the American in the world rankings but it seems Harrison couldn’t hold his nerve, losing nine games in a row at the end of the first set.
“Second set he started to tank," Bedene said. "I was playing well but he basically gave me two games, made some stupid errors. Third set he was fighting. Overall not the best set but luckily I regrouped, started to play well again and won in four."
Defending champion tested
Garbine Muguruza, the Roland Garros champ of 2016, had a brilliant start to her first round match, taking the first game and breaking her opponent, Francesa Schiavone.
In the middle of the first set the paramedics were rushed onto the Philippe Chatrier court but not for the players – a member of the crowd fell ill and play stopped while the sun-stroke-stricken fan was seen to.
The interlude certainly didn’t shake Muguruza’s focus and she went on to win 6-2 6-4 after playing four match points.