Rain confused the cards
The crown of the clay season … The French Open has started in Paris – the main start for fans of the slowest coverage. The first round was extended for three days, but even that was not enough to play all the matches. Light rains that came on Monday and Tuesday led to the fact that the first racket of the world, Simona Halep, did not even enter the court at all. Her meeting with Alison Risk will take place on Wednesday, and the winner is due to play the second round match on Thursday. The organizers always try to create a level playing field for all players, but this cannot be guaranteed, especially at Roland Garros.
Why especially? Because the Parisian “Helmet” depends more than others on the vicissitudes of the weather. The other three major tournaments have retractable roofs, and two of the three (Australian Open and US Open) also have evening lighting, which makes it possible to extend the playing day to 12-14 hours. In Melbourne and New York, the end of the program at midnight or even one in the morning is common, but in Paris it is already dark at 21:00. By 2020, the central arena named after Philippe Shatrie should be equipped with a roof, but for now everything is decided by the weather: if it rains, then all matches are interrupted. If it’s dark, then everyone also goes to the under-stands.
The amazing story of Trungelliti
A unique situation has developed in the men’s draw at Roland Garros: eight “lucky losers” have made it to the base. Getting into the net of one of them, Marco Trungelliti, deserves special attention. He, having lost in the third round in qualifying, has already left for Barcelona. He was not among the first on the waiting list, so he did not expect that his turn would come to him and he would become a “lucky loser”. However, the general refusal of many players led to the fact that Trungelliti got his chance. He told the organizers on Sunday that he was starting his nine-hour car journey from Barcelona to Paris, and on Monday morning he would be ready to play with Bernard Tomic (Tomic was originally supposed to meet Nick Kyrios).
The most surprising thing is that if on Sunday morning one of the tennis players who still remained in Paris had put his signature on the waiting list of “lucky losers”, Trungelliti could stay in Catalonia. However, no one was ready for the refusal of so many players, and the Argentine did not just come (his mother, brother and grandmother made the Tour de France with him), but defeated Tomic in four sets. The Argentinean immediately became a hero of the tournament, while he has a chance to reach the third round: then he will have a match with Cecchinato’s namesake.
A difficult start for Nadal
As for the main favorites, Rafael Nadal unexpectedly went through the first round hard. For the first time since 2015, the Spaniard has lost more than seven games at Roland Garros. Simone Bolelli (by the way, another “lucky loser” who got into the base because of the refusal of Alexander Dolgopolov; the Ukrainian starred due to a wrist injury) fought very well. In the third set, he was leading 3: 0, and in the tie-break he had four set points, including a triple. Rafael still snatched the victory – 6: 4, 6: 3, 7: 6 (9).
Let’s note the success of Sergei Stakhovsky, who also became a “lucky loser”. The Ukrainian unexpectedly easily beat Feliciano Lopez – 6: 2, 6: 4, 6: 2. Lopez, nevertheless, repeated Roger Federer’s record for the most appearances at Grand Slam tournaments in a row – 65. If Feliciano plays at Wimbledon, then, accordingly, set a new world record. And Sergei will then meet with Misha Zverev. His brother, Alexander, gave only four games to Ricardas Berankis. And here is another top-8 player, David Goffin, almost lost. The Belgian only in five games, while losing 0-2, beat Robin Haase – 4: 6, 4: 6, 6: 4, 6: 1, 6: 0.
Quite unexpectedly, the young Spaniard Jaume Munar defeated his compatriot David Ferrer. The scenario is the same – 3: 6, 3: 6, 7: 6 (3), 7: 6 (4), 7: 5. The real drama unfolded in the game of another Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco. He lost 3: 5 in the fifth game, but still passed Yoshihito Nishioku, who in the end began to have seizures, and he could no longer run normally on the court. The most stubborn match was presented by Ceckinato and Mariusz Kopil. The Italian, losing 0-2, snatched victory in five sets, and the score of the fifth set – 10: 8.
Kozlova beat Ostapenko
The women’s drama of the first round took place in the play of Belinda Bencic and Italian Deborah Chiesa. The Swiss played five match points, won 3: 6, 7: 6 (2), 7: 5, and then burst into tears in joy and collapsed on the Parisian court. Let’s note one more salvation: Irina Begu, losing 2: 5 in the decisive game, nevertheless passed Anna-Karolina Shmidlova. The main sensation of the round is the defeat of the reigning champion. The best part for Ukrainian tennis fans is that Elena Ostapenko was beaten by Kateryna Kozlova.
Ostapenko, as you know, has essentially one game plan, and if something goes wrong, it is extremely difficult for her to change something. Elena did not have a ball flying at all, she made one mistake after another, was angry with herself, but could not do anything. Katerina may not have shown outstanding tennis, but she kept the ball well in the game and gave her opponent the opportunity to make mistakes, and Ostapenko used these opportunities. For the second time in the history of Roland Garros, the reigning champion has lost in the first round – 5: 7, 3: 6 (the first time – Anastasia Myskina in 2005).
Serena Williams is back
In general, an amazing situation has developed: in a year, none of the four reigning champions of Grand Slam tournaments reached the second round. Serena Williams simply did not defend her titles at the Australian Open (inadequate form) and Wimbledon (pregnancy), Angelique Kerber lost at the US Open, and now Ostapenko also played unsuccessfully. Another favorite could also lose: Elina Svitolina was 2: 5 behind in the first set, Isla Tomljanovich, and the Australian had a set point. The Ukrainian showed character and still won in two sets – 7: 5, 6: 3. The next match Svitolina will play against Viktoria Kuzhmova, who was stronger than the champion of Roland Garros-2010 Francesca Schiavone.
Two former champions met in a game between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Garbinier Mugurus. The Russian woman showed very good tennis and would certainly have passed many rivals, but not the Spaniard. Mugurusa won 7: 6 (0), 6: 2. Caroline Wozniacki won with a similar score – 7: 6 (7: 2), 6: 1 against Danielle Collins. The first set was in a tie-break, and the second was won a little easier by another favorite – Karolina Plishkova. With a score of 7: 6 (6), 6: 4, she beat Barbora Kreichikova.
The match of another sister – Christina ended with the same score. She imposed a worthy fight on Serena Williams, but the American, who has not played a single match on clay this year, won. Serena amazed everyone with her unusual uniform – a jumpsuit in the style of “Black Panther”. In the second round, Williams will face Ashley Barty, and this match will give a better understanding of the form in which the American is now. Another mother, Victoria Azarenka, quite unexpectedly lost in the opening round – 5: 7, 5: 7 to Katezhina Sinyakova. It was Sinyakova who would become Kozlova’s next rival.