Day 2, RG 2017 – Kiki survives injury as Nadal, Djokovic and Muguruza get it done!

And so the first drubbing was dished out at RG as Nadal goes for his 10th title in Paris. Benoit Paire was well beaten, the hot and cold Frenchman wasn’t at his best but would it have made any difference? No! Solid from Rafa today with plenty in reserve after his week’s rest. Robin Haase next up should prove a more rounded test but little more than that! The Dutchman has got firepower at his disposal and will want to fair better than Paire’s tally of 6 games. Nadal’s nearest rivals in the bottom half all joined the Spaniard with Dominic Thiem in the second round. Djokovic, with Agassi onboard, was unspectacular but got the job done in straights against Marcel Granollers. Milos Raonic overpowered Steve Darcis and David Goffin tucked up Polo Mathieu very nicely. Though ageing, Mathieu has played some decent stuff in Paris in the past. Goffin interestingly said how he likes the clay when the weather’s hot and the courts are faster, this suiting him earlier. Jack Sock was the biggest casualty of the day as he lost to Jiri Vesely. The American said he had his plans in the lead up to RG disrupted. He was meant to be practicing with Rafa in Spain but Nadal pulled out to have a week off. Former World number one junior Vesely was a rough first round draw for the American, but one I would have expected him to come through! Bit disappointed with the J Sock, he mentioned having a rest and re-assessing his schedule after the loss. The Czech squares off against Aljaz Bedene next after he fended off a Ryan Harrison comeback to win in 4! Though Bedene goes in as a slight favourite here I think Vesely might just take him. Pablo Cuevas, Richard Gasquet, Roberto Bautista-Agut and Borna Coric all eased through as did Marin Cilic in the top half as he beat an out of sorts Ernests Gulbis. Fabio Fognini beat Frances Tiafoe in a 5 set roller-coaster, true to form with Fog, this was a right see-saw battle. Tiafoe worked his way back from two sets down only to get bagelled in the decider. Classic Fabio by the looks, I’m really impressed with Tiafoe however. Finally, two marathons today were David Ferrer beating ‘The Don(ald)’ Young in a match lasting 4 and a half hours and 13-11 in the fifth. Diego Schwartzman beat Andrey Rublev 9/7 in the decider and will face qualifier Stefano Napolitano next.

Poor Kiki Mladenovic has picked a back injury, which she says is getting better. It is going to have to, it massively restricted her against Jennifer Brady today. How the American hasn’t won this I’m not quite sure, I’d imagine a few sleepless nights may lie ahead….for both! We know I rate Kiki so it goes without saying I’m pleased she avoided an early exit here. Sara Errani will be a totally different prospect next round. If fit she should be able to blow the Italian off court, if not the alarm bells will be ringing. One thing is for sure we know that Errani will not give much away in this contest! Garbine Muguruza had a ‘propa nawty’ looking draw against Francesca Schiavone. Reports say she played well here and that doesn’t come as a surprise taking into account Schiavone’s clay court prowess. Anett Kontaveit is next up, the Estonian beating Muguruza in Stuttgart this year. Kontaveit looks set to step up at 21 and this is a big test for the defending champion. The Estonian can hit with controlled aggression and moves well, looking forward to this one! There were also easy wins today for Karolina Pliskova, Kiki Bertens, Sam Stosur and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Elise Mertens beat Daria Gavrilova in a match where its sounds like the Australian had plenty of chances and Caroline Wozniacki sneaked past Jaimee Fourlis. The 17 years old Ozzie was blitzing winners and going after it in this contest and won plenty of fans in doing so. Woz ultimately showed her experience and plays Francoise Abanda next. 2015 runner-up Lucie Safarova and the charismatic Coco Vandeweghe both lost today, identical scorelines 6/1 6/4, to Veronica Cepede Royg and Magdalena Rybarikova respectively.

On to day 3 where Muzza, Stan, Konta and Svitolina are part of the line-up.

Andy Del Potro

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