Too hot to handle
Originally published on 28/05/17 00:00
Who would have thought
World No.1 Angelique Kerber crashed out of the tournament in the first round. She was beaten in straight sets, losing to the Russian player Ekaterina Makarova in 6-2 6-2 in one hour and 22 minutes. Kerber, who also lost in the first round in Paris last year, is the first women’s top seed to lose in the opening round of the French Open in the Open era.
Makarova turned the pressure into points and won 43% of her break points compared to Kerber, who won just 13%.
A Cinderella story
It was a fairytale moment for Petra Kvitova, whose first round win brought her to tears. Having been stabbed at the end of last year during an attempted burglary at her home the Czech was left with a career-threatening injury to her playing hand.
But five months on and it only took 74 minutes and nine aces for the 15th seed to prove she is back to top form. Kvitova’s best result at Roland Garros was in 2012 when she was a semi-finalist.
Thank you ♥´Ù pic.twitter.com/cFeEFKbFyN
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) May 28, 2017
In 2017, Dan Evans achieved a career high ATP ranking when he made No.41 in March to become one of three Brits in the Top 50. But today Evans looked exhausted and overwhelmed by the occasion and heat to lose in the first round of Roland Garros.
All the odds were with Evans: his veteran opponent, Tommy Robredo, at 35-years-old, is ranked 271, falling to his lowest ranking since 1998.
It looked like Evans was struggling with the heat and potentially illness as he left the court to vomit after winning the first set. He was far from enjoying the experience and said after the match that it was “like torture”.
Evans added: “It was really tough. I clearly found it really hard. I didn't feel good at all, but I think it's in the spirit to sort of just carry on playing."
French No.3 Lucas Pouille narrowly made it through to the second round of the French Open after a five-set marathon against fellow countryman Julien Benneteau. Despite Pouille being 81 places ahead of Benneteau in the world rankings, the 23-year-old had to come back from two-sets-to-one down to win 7-6(6) 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 in three hours and 21minutes.
Pouille was one of an impressive total of 19 Frenchmen to start in the main draw – the most since 2014, when 19 also made the cut.
In other news…
Venus Williams beat China’s Wang Qiang 6-4 7-6(3) as she sets out on her 20th French Open. Donning her customary large gold hoops, Venus returns to Paris with a hard-fought victory.
She said: “Here we are. You know, what an experience. What can I say? It's always an opportunity, for sure. I want to play the kind of tennis that's consistent and aggressive, inspired. That's my goal, every match.”
Dominic Thiem, in expected style, took only 80 minutes to conclusively beat Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-0 6-2. Thiem was his classic creative self, making some dazzlingly brilliant shots from the very edges of the court.
Tomic, who has suffered eight first-round losses in Paris, said of Thiem: ““He’s not a player you want in the first round. The draw was bad. He killed me. I had no chance. After Rafa, he’s the best on clay this year. He’s a huge favourite to do well at Roland Garros this year, and good luck to him.”