All a bit manic in the men’s today, Sascha Zverev and Fernando Verdasco came back from where they left off late last night at one set all. Zverev’s wasn’t at his best by far and that was probably due to the pressure he has felt, coming into the tournament on the back of Rome. As I said to a work colleague today, ‘sometimes you have to take a hit to be ready next time out’. I think Sascha will learn from this and move on, his diagnosis was that “I played absolute sh*t”. It’s all part of the character building process losses like this and let’s face it, Nando Verdasco is a nasty first round opponent, especially on a court like the Chatrier. Not one to be trusted to always back up a big win though Verdasco! Muzza then got past Andrey Kuznetsov in four sets. The first two sets were a little concerning for the top seed but after this point, he ran away with the match comfortably. Kuznetsov has been prone to getting a little tight at times when I have seen him and today wasn’t much different. His next opponent, Martin Klizan had a right ding-dong battle with Laurent Lokoli, Literally!! It sounds like the pair were seen bickering and having words throughout during this one, which culminated in Lokoli refusing to shake hands at the end. Later he called Klizan’s respect and sportsmanship into question. Del Potro should be Murray’s third round opponent (it certainly doesn’t get easier). Delboy hammered compatriot and pal Guido Pella into the ground for the loss of just 7 games. There seems to be little sign of any injury that was a concern prematch. Stan Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios(who avoided the Kohlschreiber skin) both won in straights, also impressively Alexandr Dolgopolov beat Charly Berlocq in straights! Kei Nishikori beat Thanasi Kokkinakkis in 4, saying that he felt his wrist was better but could be subject to inflammation at any time. Thanasi says he has thought about quitting the game in the last few weeks, so was pleased to give a good account of himself. Maxime Hamou has been getting himself into trouble and has been banned from this year’s event, for his antics in the Eurosport interview after his loss to Pablo Cuevas. Kissing up Maly Thomas(Eurosport) on live TV has not gone down too well and he has had to go! Dear me, he is toooootally gone, what was he thinking! Other winners today were Kyle Edmund, John Isner, Tomas Berdych and Gael Monfils who beat Dustin Brown. Tennis Swag must have hit an all-time peak out there on the Suzanne Lenglen today for Monfils/Brown encounter!! Finally, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga is holding on by the skin of his teeth to Renzo Olivo. The match has been held overnight with Olivo two sets to one up, having just failed to serve it out at 5/3 in the fourth. Tsonga, possibly tired from last week has been spraying far too many errors so far and is lucky to still be in there.
Jo Konta lost first round in Paris again, this time to Su-Wei Hsieh. Jo must be looking forward to the grass now, a surface she feels a lot more at home on. She likes the second half of the year and I’m sure her form will return. She ran away with the opening set here, but from there on Hsieh’s variation wore her down and by the end, she didn’t seem to have many ideas left. Konta is now 0-3 in Paris. Halep and Svitolina both started their campaigns today and both had few problems. Halep said her ankle was 80% and that she thought she would be ok for RG. Reports suggest she didn’t move for some of the deeper balls in rallies, choosing to leave them. Truth is we will only know when she is stretched. Svitolina routinely beat Yaroslava Shvdeova and says that shes feeling good physically and mentally. It is clear she is buzzing on confidence right now, its starts to get going in the fourth round against Keys or Sevastova. Keys was heavily fancied to get beat by Ashleigh Barty today, but ended up blowing her away, as Madison can! That should boost the confidence no end. Marketa Vondrousova lost just the single game against Amandine Hesse, it’s not just the fact that the 17-year-old is beating people, she is absolutely pummelling them. Very economical on the games against front the Czech currently. She faces Daria Kasatkina next and she goes into the contest as a clear favourite, that pretty much tells you where she is rated right now. Should Vondrousova oblige here then we are likely to see what Simona Halep is made of in the third round, I’m on that shit!! Other comfortable winners today were Aga Radwanska and Carla Suarez Navarro who beat Fiona Ferro and Maria Sakkari respectively.
Andy Del Potro