PARIS (Reuters) – Rafa Nadal began his French Open title defence with a straightforward victory on Monday, while U.S. Open winner Dominic Thiem avoided a New York hangover by winning his opening round match with a commanding display.
Second seed Nadal, chasing a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title, needed just over two hours to put away Belarusian Egor Gerasimov 6-4 6-4 6-2, while U.S. Open winner Thiem defeated Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3 6-3.
Thiem, seeded third, has lost to Nadal in the last two men’s finals on the Parisian clay. The pair are in the same half of the draw and could meet in the semi-finals.
Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev, however, was knocked out in the opening round for a fourth straight year at Roland Garros, with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics taking a 6-4 7-6(3) 2-6 6-1 victory.
In a French Open epic, Italian qualifier Lorenzo Giustino recovered from an opening set bagel to edge out local favourite Corentin Moutet 0-6 7-6(7) 7-6(3) 2-6 18-16.
The match, which began on Sunday, was the second-longest encounter in the tournament’s history, falling 28 minutes short of the 2004 first round epic when Fabrice Santoro beat French compatriot Arnaud Clement in six hours 33 minutes.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams resumed her hunt for a record-equalling 24th major title with a 7-6(2) 6-0 win over fellow American Kristie Ahn.
Newly-crowned Strasbourg champion Elina Svitolina continued her impressive run on clay with a 7-6(2) 6-4 win over Russian Varvara Gracheva.
Highlights of the second day at the French Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Monday (all times GMT):
Record-chasing Nadal eases into French Open second round
Serena digs deep to find a way past Ahn into second round
No U.S. hangover for Thiem as he dispatches Cilic
Fourth seed Medvedev sent packing by Fucsovics
Azarenka nervous about fans at French Open
Eighth seed Monfils crashes out against Kazakh Bublik
Muguruza survives three-hour battle against Zidansek
Giustino feels ‘too fresh’ after French Open marathon win
Kyrgios sends volley at Wilander over Murray comments
Auger-Aliassime makes early French Open exit
Bertens sets up second-round clash with Errani
Kvitova powers past Dodin into second round in Paris
Doubles pair out of French Open after coach tests positive for COVID-19
Kvitova very glad to see spectators at Roland Garros
French Open order of play on Monday
2135 MEDVEDEV FALLS AT FIRST HURDLE AGAIN
Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev suffered an opening round defeat for a fourth consecutive year at Roland Garros as he went down against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-4 7-6(3) 2-6 6-1.
The 24-year-old Russian, who finished the match with 51 unforced errors, took a one point penalty for smashing his racket at the end of the second set tiebreak.
2055 FERNANDEZ DAZZLES ON DEBUT
Playing in her maiden French Open, Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez rallied from a set down to beat Poland’s 31st seeded Magda Linette 1-6 6-2 6-3.
1900 KERBER CRASHES OUT
Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who has won the other three Grand Slams, was once again well below par in Paris as she committed 30 unforced errors in a 6-3 6-3 defeat by Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan, her fourth first-round exit in the last five years.
1740 GIUSTINO OUTLASTS MOUTET IN SIX-HOUR THRILLER
Italian qualifier Lorenzo Giustino recovered from an opening set bagel to edge home favourite Corentin Moutet 0-6 7-6(7) 7-6(3) 2-6 18-16 in a match lasting over six hours on Court 14.
The fifth set alone lasted three hours and had a total of 11 break points shared between the two players.
The match was the second-longest encounter at Roland Garros, falling 28 minutes short of the 2004 first round epic when Fabrice Santoro beat French compatriot Arnaud Clement in six hours 33 minutes.
1735 NADAL EASES PAST GERASIMOV
Defending champion Rafa Nadal beat Belarusian Egor Gerasimov 6-4 6-4 6-2 to move into the second round.
Nadal, who now has a 94-2 record at Roland Garros, is looking to win a record-extending 13th French Open title and equal Roger Federer’s tally of 20 Grand Slams.
1730 MUGURUZA THROUGH AFTER THREE-HOUR BATTLE
Former champion Garbine Muguruza was pushed the distance by Tamara Zidansek before coming out on top in their first round encounter with a 7-5 4-6 8-6 victory on court Simonne Mathieu.
Muguruza had fewer winners and more unforced errors but her extra break proved decisive after three gruelling hours.
1505 SERENA STORMS PAST AHN
Three-times Roland Garros champion Serena Williams cruised into the second round with a 7-6(2) 6-0 victory over fellow American Kristie Ahn.
Sixth seed Williams will next face Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in a rematch of their U.S. Open quarter-final, which the American won over three sets earlier this month.
1500 SVITOLINA EASES INTO ROUND TWO
Strasbourg champion Elina Svitolina, chasing her maiden Grand Slam title, extended her brilliant run on clay with a 7-6(2) 6-4 victory over Russian Varvara Gracheva.
1450 FOGNINI MAKES FIRST-ROUND EXIT
Fabio Fognini was knocked out by Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round, with the Kazakh winning 7-5 3-6 7-6(1) 6-0 on Court Simonne Mathieu.
Fognini, ranked 14 in the world, has won only once in four tournaments now since the season restarted last month and the Italian 14th seed was far from his best, making 48 unforced errors.
1350 ERROR-PRONE AUGER ALIASSIME OUT IN STRAIGHT SETS
Canadian youngster Felix Auger Aliassime was knocked out 7-5 6-3 6-3 by Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.
Nishioka fired 30 winners past the 19th seed, who made 58 unforced errors and was broken six times.
1305 BERTENS FIGHTS BACK TO BEAT ZAVATSKA
Fifth-seeded Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens came back from a set down to overcome Ukraine’s Katarina Zavatska 2-6 6-2 6-0.
Bertens will next face 2012 finalist Sara Errani, who had to come through qualifying before claiming a 6-2 6-1 opening-round win over Puerto Rican Monica Puig.
1300 DOMINANT THIEM PASSES CILIC TEST
U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem, twice French Open runner-up, recovered from a slow start to beat former world number three Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3 6-3 in just over two hours.
1045 KVITOVA SAILS INTO SECOND ROUND
Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova advanced to the second round with a 6-3 7-5 victory over local favourite Oceane Dodin, firing eight aces and 30 winners while winning 86% of her first serve points.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram, Rohith Nair and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond/Christian Radnedge/Clare Fallon/Ken Ferris)