French Open 2020 – The Final Major Of The Year

The three title favourites at this year’s rescheduled French Open in Paris made convincing starts to their campaign as they steamrolled their opponents in the first round, but it was familiar frustration for the fourth seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev who crashed out in four sets for the fourth consecutive year at Roland Garros as he was knocked out by the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics on Court Suzanne Lenglen on Monday. The Hamburg finalists Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas rallied from two sets down to advance on Tuesday.

The top seeded Novak Djokovic, winner in 2016, raced to a 6-0,6-2,6-3 win over Mikeal Ymer of Sweden in his quest to become the only player in Open Era to win all four majors atleast twice. The twelve time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain faced little resistance from Egor Gerasimov of Belarus as he scored a 6-4,6-4,6-2 win in his quest for a record equalling 20 grand slam titles. The U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem, who became the only player born in the 1990s to win a major title when he won in New York two weeks ago, overcame a potentially tricky first round match up against the big serving Marin Cilic of Croatia, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, 6-4,6-3,6-3.

The fourth set Russian Daniil Medvedev, the finalist at U.S. Open in 2019, and a semi finalist this year before losing to the eventual champion Dominic Thiem, was beaten 4-6,6-7(3),6-2,1-6 by the 63rd ranked Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in a match that started on Monday night but ended past midnight on court Suzanne Lenglen. Medvedev was docked a point penalty at 3-6 in the second set tie-break, appeared to be back in the match as he rallied to win the second set, but in temperature below 10 degree Celsius the Hungarian was not to be denied as he took the fourt set 6-1, registering his first Top Ten win in the biggest upset of the first round. The finalist in New York, sixth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany, overcame a hesitant start before prevailing 7-5,6-2,6-4 over Denis Novak of Austria.

Almost joining Medvedev on the sidelines were the Hamburg finalists who played the title clash on Sunday which was also the Opening Day at Roland Garros. Like he had in the final in Hamburg, Andrey Rublev rallied from the brink of defeat to beat the Californian Sam Querrey 6-7(5),6-7(4),7-5,6-4,6-3 in three hours and seventeen minutes. Rublev trailed 2-5 in the third set before clinching the next five games in a row against the American who was once ranked a career high Eleventh in 2018, but has fallen to 48th in the world. Fifth seeded Tsitsipas got off to a nervous start against the Spaniard Jaime Munar before coming back from two sets down for the first time in his career to win 4-6,2-6,6-1,6-4,6-4.

In what was the most eagery awaited first round match up between two three time grand slam champions, the 2015 champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland outclassed Andy Murray of Scotland 6-1,6-3,6-2. The duo had met in the semi-finals of the French Open in 2016 when Murray won, and then again in 2017 when Wawrinka prevailed in five sets. There was also a surprise defeat for the eighth seeded Gael Monfils who lost to Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 4-6,5-7,6-3,3-6. Eleventh seeded David Goffin of Belgium was bundled out after crashing to a 5-7,0-6,3-6 defeat at the hands of the German teenager Jannik Sinner.

In what was the second longest match in the history at Roland Garros, the Italian Qualifier Lorenzo Giustino prevailed 18-16 in the fifth set against the local hope Corentin Moutet. In an all Argentine clash Juan Ignacio Londero beat Federico Delbonis 14-12 in the fifth set, while the American Tennys Sandgren won 11-9 in the fifth set to upset the 29th seeded Hubert Hurcazs of Poland. Jurij Rodionov of Austria beat the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 10-8 in the decider. There were good wins for the seventh seeded Italian Matteo Berretini, 12th seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman, 10th seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain and the 18th seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, all advancing in straight sets. Denis Shapovalov, seeded ninth prevailed in four sets against the Frenchman Giles Simon.

The following is the list of second round matches with my pick mentioned first :-

Novak Djokovic (1) v. Ricardas Berankis (-)
Tennys Sandgren (-) v. Daniel Elahi Galan (-)
Christian Garin (20) v
Marc Polmans (-)
Karen Khachanov (15) v. Jiri Vesley (-)
Roberto Bautista Agut (10) v. Attila Balazs (-)
Pablo Carreno Busta (17) v. Guido Pella (-)
Jan Lennard-Struff (30) v. Daniel Altmaier (-)
Matteo Berretini (7) v. Lloyd Harris (-)
Albert Ramos Vinolas (-) v. Marton Fucsovics (-)
Marcos Giron v. Thiago Monteiro (-)
Dusan Lajovic (22) v. Kevin Anderson (-)
Andrey Rublev (13) v. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (-)
Denis Shapovalov (9) v. Roberto Carballes Baena(-)
Grigor Dimitrov (18) v. Andrej Martin (-)
Aljaz Bedene (-) v. Nikola Milojevic (-)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) v. Pablo Cuevas (-)
Lorenzo Sonego (-) v. Alexander Bublik (-)
Taylor Fritz (27) v. Radu Albot (-)
Norbert Gombos (-) v. Jurij Rodionov (-)
Diego Schwartzman (12) v. Lorenzo Giustino (-)
Stanislas Wawrinka (16) v. Dominik Koepfer (-)
Yoshihito Nishioka (-) v. Hugo Gaston (-)
Casper Ruud (28) v. Tommy Paul (-)
Dominic Thiem (3) v. Jack Sock (-)
Alexander Zverev (6) v. Pierre Hugues-Herbert (-)
Marco Cecchinato (-) v. Juan Ignacio Londero (-)
Benoit Paire (23) v. Federico Coria (-)
Jannik Sinner (-) v. Benjamin Bonzi (-)
Mikhail Kukushkin (-) v. Pedro Martinez (-)
John Isner (21) v. Sebastian Korda (-)
Kei Nishikori (-) v. Stefano Travaglia (-)
Rafael Nadal (2) v. Mackenzie McDonald (-).

– 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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