Nine time champion Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic made winning starts to their campaign at the second grand slam tournament of the year, as they swept aside capable opponents to enter the second round at the Roland Garros in Paris on Monday.
Nadal wasted little time in dispatching the talented but erratic Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-1,6-4,6-1 on court Suzanne-Lenglen, while Djokovic struggled in his far from convincing 6-3,6-4,6-2 win over Spaniard Marcel Granollers in two hours and twenty seven minutes.
The trend of easy opening round matches continued as the fifth seeded Milos Raonic of Canada ruthlessly dispatched Belgian veteran Steve Darcis 6-3,6-4,6-2; however there were better results for Belgium as the tenth seeded David Goffin put out the Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2,6-2,6-2.
The 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia also had a 6-3,6-3,6-3 win over the hapless Latvian Ernests Gulbis, once ranked inside the top ten, but now a lowly 230.
There were three minor upsets on Day 2 as the American Jack Sock, Frenchman Gilles Simon and the German Mischa Zverev were beaten in their first round match. The fourteenth seeded Jack Sock was beaten 5-7,5-7,3-6 by the left handed Jiri Vesley of the Czech Republic, Italian Stefano Napolitano put out the 32nd seeded Mischa Zverev in four sets. The Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili took four sets to upset the 31st seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Other winners included the Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Pierre Hugues Herbert, the American Steve Johnson, Aljaz Bedene of Britain, Serbian Victor Troicki, the Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva, Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, Fabio Fognini, Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi of Italy.
Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky, Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic, Portugal’s Joao Sousa, Croatian Borna Coric, Argentines Nicholas Kicker and Diego Schwartzman and the Spaniards Roberto Bautista Agut, Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer were also among the players moving onto the next round
The 2013 runner up David Ferrer, seeded 30, came through after a marathon four hour twenty six minute match against the left handed Donald Young of U.S.A. Ferrer’s winning scoreline was 5-7,6-3,4-6,6-3,13-11.
Following is the list of matches involving seeded players on Day 3 in the opening round with my pick mentioned first:-
Alexander Zverev (9) v. Fernando Verdasco
Andy Murray (1) v. Andrey Kuznetsov
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (12) v. Renzo Olivo
Stanislas Wawrinka (3) v. Jozef Kovalik
Gael Monfils (15) v. Dustin Brown
Kei Nishikori (8) v. Thanasi Kokkinakis
Tomas Berdych (13) v. Jan-Lennard Struff
Nick Kyrgios (18) v. Philipp Kohlschreiber
Sam Querrey (27) v. Hyeon Chung
John Isner (21) v. Jordan Thompson
Juan Martin Del Potro (29) v. Guido Pella
The defending champion in the women’s section of the draw, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza overcame the 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone 6-2,6-4. Former world number Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark also won, while local favourite Kristina Mladenovic was extended to 9-7 in the deciding set by Jennifer Brady on court Philippe-Chatrier.
Second seeded Karolina Pliskova swept aside Shuai Zheng of China 7-5,6-2. There were also wins for the Australian Samantha Stosur, the 2010 runner up.
Other seeded winners included Kiki Bertens of Netherlands, Australian Daria Gavrilova, Lauren Davis of U.S.A., Eluna Vesnina of Russia and Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan. There were mixed results for former finalists, the Italian Sara Errani, the 2012 beaten finalist won against Japan’s Misaki Doi.
The 2015 runner up Lucie Safarova was upset by the little known Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 1-6, 4-6. The 19th seeded American Coco Vandeweghe was upset by Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova by the same 1-6, 4-6 scoreline.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]