2018 French Open: Review Of Day 2

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Three active players to have lifted the French Open crown were in action on Day 2, but there were mixed results for them as the 2016 champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia came through in straight sets, while the 2015 champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, was sent packing by the Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez in five sets, the same player who had beaten him in the opening round four years ago. The defending champion Rafael Nadal who is bidding for a record extending 11th title in Paris was leading lucky loser Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-4,6-3,0-3 when rain interrupted play which eventually suspended play on Day 2.

The 2015 champion Wawrinka, who also finished runner up last year (lost to Nadal) was sidelined for the remainder of last year’s season after Wimbledon, and who is still recovering from injury, took a two sets to one lead against the veteran Spaniard, but the match took a turn when the Swiss lost the crucial fourth set tie-break and the unseeded Spaniard then ran away with the final set to score a 6-3,3-6,4-6,7-6(5),6-3 win.

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Djokovic who too missed the second half of 2017 with an elbow injury, fell 0-2 behind in both the first two sets, but broke back rightaway to score 6-3,6-4,6-4 over the Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva. The 20th seeded Serb now has 60-12 record in the French Capital, having won the title in 2016 which gave the career slam and also the non calendar year slam. Neither Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal have held all four slams at the same time.

The top ranked Rafael Nadal was scheduled to play the Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov against whom he has a 7-2 head to head record. That was not to be as the Ukrainian withdrew due to injury which enabled the lucky loser Simone Bolelli to take his place in the draw. Nadal broke serve in the tenth game of the opening set and then fell behind 1-3 in the second set before claiming the next five games to take a two sets lead. Nadal holds a 79-2 record at Roland Garros and has only dropped 24 sets enroute to ten titles, is now in danger of dropping his first set in eight matches as he trailes 0-3 in the third set when rain stopped play. The Spaniard won 19 consecutive sets to clinch his tenth title in Paris.

Dominic Thiem of Austria, fresh from his tournament win in Lyon on Saturday, which was his second in 2018, having won in Buenos Aires in February. He defeated Illya Ivashka of Belarus 6-2,6-4,6-1 and will be aiming for his third consecutive Semi-final in the French Capital. Thiem is the only player to beat Nadal on clay this year in Madrid and was the only player to defeat the Spaniard in the clay court season last year in Rome. There was also a straight set win for the local favourite Richard Gasquet who won with surprising ease against the veteran Italian Andreas Seppi 6-0,6-2,6-2.

Other notable winners on Day 2 were the 11th seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman, 12th seeded American Sam Querrey, 31st seeded Spanish left hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas and his compatriot and 13th seeded Roberto Bautista Agut. Joining Wawrinka on the sidelines are the 22nd seeded German veteran Phillip Kohlschreiber, beaten in four sets by Borna Coric of Croatia and the 29th seeded Giles Muller of Luxembourg, beaten by the former semi finalist Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, also in four sets.

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In an all American match up, ninth seeded John Isner leads Noah Rubin by two sets. Also advancing are the Frenchman Giles Simon, Malek Jaziri of Tunisia, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, Karen Khachanov of Russia, Dusan Lajovic of Croatia, the Italian Marco Cecchinato, Benoit of France and the Argentine Marco Trungelliti. The 2012 finalist David Ferrer lost in five sets to fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar.

Among the women, second seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, the Australian Open champion, beat the American Danielle Rose Collins 7-6(2),6-1, while two time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, seeded eighth came back from a set down to defeat the Paraguayan Veronica Cepede Royg 3-6,6-1,7-5. There was disappointment for Victoria Azarenka of Belarus who lost 5-7,5-7 to little known Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic. Former finalist Lucie Saratoga, also of the Czech Republic beat the local favourite Jessika Ponchet 6-4,6-1.

Other ladies to advance were Elise Merterns of Belgium, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys of the U.S., Magdalena Rybarikova of the Slovak Republic, Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, Japan’s Naomi Osaka, Russian Daria Kasatkina and Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania.

20th seeded Anastasia Sevatsova of Latvia lost to Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-4,1-6,3-6. Also beaten was Kristina Mladenovic of France, the 29th seed lost 6-7(10),2-6 to the German Andrea Petkovic. Veteran Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, Britain’s Heather Watson, Croatian Donna Vekic and the Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko advanced to the round of 64.

Following is the list of matches involving the seeds on Tuesday with my pick mentioned first:-

Denis Shapovalov (24) v. John Millman (-)
Jack Sock (14) v. Jurgen Zopp (-)
Feliciano Lopez (28) v. Sergiy Stakhovsky (-)
Kevin Anderson (6) v. Paolo Lorenzi (-)
Marin Cilic (3) v. James Duckworth (-)
Adrian Mannarino (25) v. Steve Johnson (-)
Fabio Fognini (18) v. Pablo Andujar (-)
Kyle Edmund (16) v. Alex de Minaur (-)
Tomas Berdych (17) v. Jeremy Chardy (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (5) v. Nicolas Mahut (-)
Roberto Bautista Agut (13) v. Denis Istomin (-)

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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