Red hot Austrian Dominic Thiem breezed into the second round of the second grand slam tournament of the year after completing a straight sets rout of Australian Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 on opening day of the second grand slam of the year in Paris. The highest ranked player in action on opening day, seeded sixth, faced little resistance from 39th ranked Aussie who continues his decline from a once lofty no. 17 ranking in January 2016.
Grigor Dmitrov, who has won titles in Brisbane and Sofia this year, defeated the Frenchman Stephane Robert 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. The 11th seeded Dmitrov who also in the semi final at the Australian Open to Rafael Nadal in five sets is joined by Spaniards Albert Ramos-Vinolas, seeded 19th, and the 20th seeded Pablo Carreno Busta. In an all French affair, 16th seeded Lucas Pouille was taken to the distance by the veteran Julien Benneteau before coming through 7-6(6), 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, 38 years of age and seeded 23rd, defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who at age 18 is less than half of Karlovic’s age. The Spanish veteran Guillermo Garcia Lopez playing his 50th consecutive grand slam tournament upset the 26th seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-2.
Other winners on Day 1 included the Brazilian left hander Thomaz Belluci, French wildcard Benjamin Bonzi, the qualifier Taro Daniel of Japan, Robin Haase of Netherlands, Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, another Spaniard and former top ten player Tommy Robredo and the Argentines Marco Trungelliti and Horacio Zeballos.
Following is the list of matches involving seeded players on Day 2 with my picks mentioned first:-
Novak Djokovic (2) v. Marcel Granollers
Alexander Zverev (9) v. Fernando Verdasco
Rafael Nadal (4) v. Benoit Paire
Richard Gasquet (24) v. Arthur De Greef
David Goffin (10) v. Paul-Henri Mathieu
Gilles Simon (31) v. Nikoloz Basilashvili
Milos Raonic (5) v. Steve Darcis
Marin Cilic (7) v. Ernests Gulbis
Jiri Vesley (-) v. Jack Sock (14)
Pablo Cuevas (22) v. Maxime Hamou
Roberto Bautista Agut (17) v. John Millman
David Ferrer (30) v. Donald Young
Mischa Zverev (32) v. Stefano Napolitano
Fabio Fognini (28) v. Frances Tiafoe
The younger Zverev could be severely tested by the veteran Spanish left hander Fernando Verdasco, while the tall Czech Jiri Vesley, who started the decline of Novak Djokovic at last years Monte Carlo Open will have nothing to lose as he plays the highest ranked American Jack Sock.
In a major upset, the top seeded German Angelique Kerber was decimated by the Russian Ekaterina Makarova 2-6,2-6, in the second match on court Philippe Chatrier. This was after the two time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, back after a six month absence had packed off the American Julia Boserup 6-3, 6-2.
Kvitova was sidelined following a stabbing incident at her home in December last year. Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia (2009) beat the American Christina McHale 7-5, 6-4; while the tenth seeded American Venus Williams overcame the Chinese Qiang Wang 6-4, 7-6(3). Also winning was the Slovakian Dominica Cibulkova, seeded sixth, Oceane Dodin of France. The Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig of Puerto Rico upset the Italian Roberta Vinci, seeded 31st, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
The 22nd seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia was upset by the little known Cagla Buyukakcay 3-6, 3-6. The 2015 semi finalist Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland beat the Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1, 6-2.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]