Roger Federer, the 2009 champion who last played in Paris four years ago, has made a successful return on the red clay of Paris after brushing aside 73rd ranked Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-2,6-4,6-4 on court Phillippe Chatrier on Opening day of the second grand slam of the year. The Swiss lost serve only once in the entire match and next goes on to play the lucky loser Oscar Otte of Germany in the second round.
The third seeded Federer got off to the perfect start possible breaking the Italian’s serve twice in the opening set lasting only 24 minutes. In the second set Sonego finally broke back on his fourth break point opportunity as the Swiss double faulted twice in the sixth game. Federer though faced little difficulty in serving out the next two service games and then did not face a break point in the third set. The match lasted only one hour and forty three minutes. His next opponent Oscar Otte beat the 35 year old Malek Jaziri of Tunisia in four sets, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.
Earlier in the day, the seventh seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece had a routine 6-2,6-2,7-6(4) win over the German Maximilian Marterer. Other players to advance were the 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia. The eleventh seeded Croat who reached the last eight stage in 2017 and 2018, had a 6-3,7-5,6-1 against another Italian Thomas Fabbiano.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori, seeded sixth, made short work of the local favourite Quentin Halys as he won 6-2,6-3,6-4. Federer’s projected third round opponent Matteo Berrettini also of Italy came from a set down to beat the Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-7(3),6-4,6-4,6-2. In a major upset last year’s semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato of Italy squandered a two set lead against the doubles specialist Nicholas Mahut of France who won 2-6,6-7(6),6-4,6-2,6-4.
Other winners on Day One include the 19 year old wildcard Alexei Popyrin of Australia, 3-6,6-3,7-6(10),6-3 winner over the local favourite Ugo Humbert. Laslo Djere of Serbia had a 6-3,6-2,7-6(2) win over the Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The lone representative from Bolivia Hugo Dellien brushed aside the lone Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-1,6-3,6-1, while Christian Ruud of Norway ousted the 2011 semi-finalist Ernest Gulbis of Latvia 6-2, 7-6(2), 6-0.
The Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov blew a two sets lead but managed to stave off the challenge of the Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-3,6-0,3-6,6-7(2),6-4. The seventeenth seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman needed five sets to beat the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-3,3-6,7-6(7),2-6,6-2. David Goffin was a surprisingly easy winner over the Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-0,6-2,6-2. Another Argentine Leonardo Mayer beat Jiri Vesley of the Czech Republic 7-6(3),6-3,6-0. The German veteran Phillip Kohlschreiber beat the Dutchman Robin Haase 6-4,6-4,6-7(5),6-1.
Following is the list of matches to be played involving seeded players with my pick mentioned first :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Hubert Hurkacz (-)
Rafael Nadal (2) v. Yannick Hanfmann (-)
Jo Wilfred Tsonga (-) v. Peter Gojowczyk (-)
Dominic Thiem (4) v. Tommy Paul (-)
Stanislas Wawrinka (24) v. Josek Kovalik (-)
Borna Coric (13) v. Aljaz Bedene (-)
Kyle Edmund (28) v. Jeremy Chardy (-)
Daniil Medvedev (12) v. Pierre Hugues-Herbert (-)
Giles Simon (26) v. Sergiy Stakhovsky (-)
Denis Shapovalov (20) v. Jan Lennard Struff (-)
Nikoloz Basilashvili (15) v. Juan Ignacio Londero (-)
Guido Pella (19) v. Guido Andreozzi (-)
Frances Tiafoe (32) v. Filip Krajinovic (-)
Alex de Minaur (21) v. Bradley Kahn (-)
Fabio Fognini (10) v. Andreas Seppi (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (8) v. Nicholas Jarry (-)
Roberto Bautista Agut (18) v. Steve Johnson (-)
Alexander Zverev (5) v. John Millman (-)
Gael Monfils (15) v. Taro Daniel (-)
Fernando Verdasco (23) v. Daniel Evans (-)
Karen Khachanov (9) v. Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (-)
Lucas Pouille (22) v. Simone Bolelli (-)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]