Nine-time Roland Garros champion, Rafael Nadal became the eighth player in tennis history to record 200 Grand slam wins on Thursday in Paris as he defeated the Argentine Facundo Bagnis 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 in the second round. He will next play fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers who went through after the Frenchman Nicolas Mahut retired due to a left knee injury, trailing by two sets and down a game in the third.
Top seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia also had few problems against the veteran Belgian Steve Darcis. Djokovic won 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 and now faces the Slovenia born Aljaz Bedene in the round of 32 on Saturday. The United Kingdom resident Bedene kept his composure in the decisive fifth set after squandering a two set lead to the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, 7-6(4), 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-2.
As expected the 20th seeded Australian Bernard Tomic fell in four sets to the Croatian teenager Borna Coric. Coric rallied after dropping the first set to win 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(4), 7-6(6). Coric now faces the 14th seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut who was a 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-1 winner over the Frenchman Paul Henri Mathieu.
There were straight sets wins for another Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, seeded 21st, the Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, seeded 25th, the promising Austrian Dominic Thiem, seeded 13th, David Goffin of Belgium, seeded 12th, Nicolas Almagro of Spain and the Latvian Ernests Gulbis. Gulbis who had upset Roger Federer in the round of 16 in 2014 in Paris upset the 26th seeded Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-2, 7-5, 6-3.
In what was, easily the most exciting match of the day, the sixth seeded Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga rallied from a two set deficit to beat Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, 6-7(6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Tsonga who reached the semi final last year will next play Gulbis in the round of 32. The German prodigy Alexander Zverev beat the Frenchman Stephane Roberts in four sets. Seventh seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic also needed four sets to beat the Tunisian Malek Jaziri.
The following is the list of matches in the bottom half of the men’s draw with my pick mentioned first:-
Andy Murray (2) v. Ivo Karlovic (27)
John Isner (15) v. Teymuraz Gabashvili
Richard Gasquet (9) v. Nick Kyrgios (17)
Kei Nishikori (5) v. Fernando Verdasco
Stanislas Wawrinka (3) v. Jeremy Chardy (30)
Victor Troicki (22) v. Giles Simon (16)
Jack Sock (23) v. Albert Ramos Vinolas
Milos Raonic (8) v. Andrej Martin
In another fiercely close contest, the 11th seeded Spaniard David Ferrer overcame the loss of the first set, in a tie-break, to the Argentine Juan Monaco to win in four sets. The 2013 finalist Ferrer next faces another Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the round of 32.
In the ladies section of the draw the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, Frenchwomen Kristina Mladenovic and Alize Cornet, Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, the 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, last year’s semi finalist Timea Bacsinzky of Switzerland enjoyed straight sets wins to advance to the round of 32.
Other winners included Elina Svitolina, Dominica Cibulkova, Karin Knapp, Kiki Bertens of Belgium and the American sensation Madison Keys. Daria Kasatkina of Russia, Paulina Permentier of France, Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan and Monica Puieg of Puerto Rico who had a fascinating three set win over the German Julia Goerges in the final match of the day.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]