Day 1 at Roland Garros

It has been a wild opening day at Roland Garros in the Autumn, history has been made as the first match was played under the new Phillipe Chatrier roof on a day of upsets, bad weather, big performances and even a walk-off!

Vika sails through despite walk-off

After taking a 2-1 lead early this morning we didn’t know when we would next see Victoria Azarenka. The rain continued to come down, it was about 8 degrees and 40mph winds were swirling around Court Suzanne Lenglen with the court covers blowing up mid-rally but the word from the organisers was to continue.

Vika was not happy with this decision and called on the supervisor:

Vika wasn’t waiting and neither was Kovinic who packed their bags and walked off court whilst the supervisor Clare Wood asked them to stay but organisers didn’t have a leg to stand out trying to begin play in these conditions.

After a bit of a delay they returned to play in better conditions and it was straight forward for the Belarusian winning 6-1 6-2 against Kovinic to set up a meeting on Tuesday with Schmiedlova who beat Venus Williams.

Marco Cecchinato, how far will he go this time?

Marco Cecchinato has not had consistent success at Grand Slam level but the Italian knows how to go on a run in Paris.

Before his match against Alex de Minaur on Sunday the qualifier had lost in the first round of Grand Slam events 12 times in his career except in 2018 when he won a match in Paris and went onto make the semi-finals.

When I saw this match-up with De Minaur I did think it had the potential for an upset and the question is, how far will the Italian go this time?

Debutant Qualifiers begin with a win!

Two names we wouldn’t have heard too much about before were qualifiers Kamilla Rakhimova from Russia and Jurij Rodionov from Austria but both on their main draw Grand Slam debuts have secured an impressive win!

Kamilla was up against Shelby Rogers earlier in the day and dispatched the American who defeated Serena Williams in Kentucky with ease winning 6-2 6-3 in just over an hour on court 11. It was an impressive performance all round by the 19 year old who couldn’t have asked for a better debut after coming through qualifying having only played one major qualifying event before in Melbourne to begin the year.

Jurij Rodionov likewise hasn’t played in a main draw before but has had two tasters of quailfying draws but have got his way through to the main draw of a major for the first time the 21 year old delivered in exceptional circumstance even though he took a ball to the well, you know…

Jurij was up against the experienced Frenchman in Jeremy Chardy and trailed two sets and Chardy served for the match with match points but lost the third 6-7 (6-8) and then the comeback trail was born for the Austrian who pulled off a stunning comeback. In these situations in Paris they go on from 6-6 but it didn’t go on too long with Rodionov winning 10-8 in the fifth in a 4 hour 36 minute match on Suzanne-Lenglen! Not a bad way to win your debut match on the tour!

Bon anniversaire Simona Halep!

Good start to the week for Simona Halep who despite falling 2-4 down to Sara Sorribes Tormo went onto win 10 games in a row to win 6-4 6-0 against the Spaniard and extend her unbeaten run to 15 matches in a row looking in very good form.

image credit – Simona Halep Twitter

It was also in fact a special day for Simona Halep and Sara Sorribes Tormo who became the first women to play under the new Chatrier roof but also it was Simona Halep’s 29th birthday and she got a nice birthday song from a small French crowd.

Sinner the winner under new Chatrier roof!

In many years to come there will be a quiz question on who played the first match under the new Philippe Chatrier roof and it is someone who will be around for some time the impressive teenager Jannik Sinner.

When it came to me doing my picks, I did fancy Sinner to do something but Goffin usually plays well in Paris but it was anything but. The Italian was patient and ruthless before his groundstrokes. He doesn’t look like he has that much power but packs a punch once he gets going and having gone two sets up against Khachanov in New York and losing he will be thrilled to get it done in three sets.

Get used to the weather?

The weather forecast in Paris does not look great throughout the event but the noise from the organisers is get playing and get used to it as it is the only way, unless you play on Chatrier then you have a lovely roof and images from first thing this morning were quite something…

Despite her earlier annoyance with the conditions even Vika managed to have a laugh at her coach Dorian after…

Fallen seeds: Day 1

Seeds always go home early in a Grand Slam and Day 1 in Paris didn’t disappoint if that is the word, leaving some seeds disappointed.

David Goffin the 11th seed lost in three sets to Jannik Sinner, later on in the day on Chatrier it was Anett Kontaveit (17th seed) sent home by Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.

Dan Evans and Alex de Minaur were also seeded casualties losing to Nishikori and Cecchinato respectively.

Another debut and another big win for Coco Gauff, the teenager was in fine form as she took out British number one Johanna Konta with some intense hitting under the new lights on Suzanne Lenglen.

Andy loses to Stan in Roland Garros return!

Even as one of the biggest Andy Murray fans I would have been surprised if he beat Stan Wawrinka in Paris on Sunday evening but going down 1-6 3-6 2-6 does raise questions but it is too easy to get carried away.

Despite Stan losing early in Rome and falling injured in Prague he is a better clay court player against Murray who hadn’t played a match on clay in over 38 months coming back to Paris.

Murray’s time in Paris will be an indicator of where to go next with his game. He will analyse and his team will look at where he can improve. First serve aside which didn’t get going in the first set and a bit two aspects stuck out for me. These were the lack of power behind the groundstrokes, still haven’t seen that rotation into the backhand or sharpness of the forehand and that movement outside Stan really went for and found a lot of joy.

Tough defeat to take but it’s way too easy to be negative!

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