Rising German sensation Alexander Zverev has been brought down to earth as his campaign at the second grand slam event of the year at the Roland Garros has come to an abrupt end after a first round upset at the hands of the veteran Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in four sets on Day 3 in Paris.
The ninth seeded Zverev who became the first player born in the 1990s to claim a Masters series event when he claimed the title in Madrid (d. Djokovic) went down 4-6,6-3,4-6,2-6 to the 33 year old Verdasco whose best result in Paris has been fourth round losses on five occasions.
Meanwhile, the top seeded Andy Murray, the 2015 champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, eighth seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan safely made it through to the second round. Murray, last years beaten finalist, looked in trouble after dropping the second set to the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, finished strongly in his 6-4,4-6,6-2,6-0 win on court Philippe Chatrier.
The 2015 champion Wawrinka, seeded third, beat the Slovakian Jozef Kovalik 6-2,7-6(6),6-3, while Nishikori ended the hopes of the Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6,6-1,6-4,6-4. There were mixed fortunes for Australia as the eighteenth seded Nick Kyrgios beat another German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3,7-6(4),6-3.
Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, seeded 13th, accounted for another German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1,6-1,4-6,6-4, while the 15th seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils completed a miserable day for Germany with a 6-4,7-5,6-0 win over Dustin Brown.
The Argentine giant Juan Martin Del Potro who was a doubtful starter last week following shoulder problems, made a triumphant return for the first time since 2012, after beating fellow Argentine Guido Pella 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
Another Argentine was within a game away from ending the hopes of the highest ranked Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga as he led 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(6), 5-4 when play was suspended due to bad light. There was a French winner as Jeremy Chardy beat Radu Albot of Moldova 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(3).
Mixed results for Americans as the 21st seeded John Isner defeated the Australian Jordan Thompson 6-3,4-6,7-6(5),6-3; however the 27th seeded Sam Querrey fell by the wayside after being beaten 4-6,6-3,3-6,3-6 by the Korean teenager Hyeon Chung.
Other winners on day 3 were the Italian Paolo Lorenzi, the Russian Karen Khachanov, Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, Martin Klizan of Slovakia, Kyle Edmund of Britain, Kevin Anderson of South Africa and Thiago Monteiro of Brazil.
The following is the list of matches on Day 4 with my pick mentioned first:-
Rafael Nadal (4) v. Robin Haase
Lucas Pouille (16) v. Thomaz Bellucci
Dominic Thiem (6) v. Simone Bolelli
Novak Djokovic (2) v. Joao Sousa
Grigor Dmitrov (11) v. Tommy Robredo
Milos Raonic (5) v. Rogerio Dutra Silva
David Goffin (10) v. Sergiy Stakhovsky
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (19) v. Benjamin Bonzi
Ivo Karlovic (23) v. Horacio Zeballos
Jiri Vesley (-) v. Aljaz Bedene
Steve Johnson (25) v. Borna Coric (-)
Pablo Carreno Busta (20) v. Taro Daniel
Diego Schwartzman (-) v. Stefano Napolitano (-)
Viktor Troicki (-) v. Nikoloz Basilashvili (-)
Roberto Bautista Agut (17) v. Mikhail Kukushkin (-)
Guillermo Garcia Lopez (-) v. Marco Trungelliti (-)
In the women’s section of the draw, third seeded Simona Halep and unseeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania, the fifth seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, Frenchwomen Caroline Garcia, Chloe Paquet and Alize Cornet, American Madison Keys, Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium won their respective matches.
Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, Tatjana Maria of Germany, Barbora Strycova and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, the Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, Daria Kasatkina of Russia, Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and Petra Martic of Croatia were also among the winners on Day 3 in their opening round matches.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]