Like with Federer, Rafa and Djokovic came out of the traps quickly to gain very comfortable straight sets wins over Hanfmann and Hurkacz respectively. They just go about there business as normal and as usual are very economical on the games front, just the fourteen games between them. Yannick Maden and Henri Laaksonen must be quaking in their boots.
Dominic Thiem was struggling against Tommy Paul. Thiem trailed by 4-0 and a double mini-break in the third set tiebreaker, with the match poised at a set apiece. The American certainly got tight and Thiem needs no second invitation, racing through the remainder of the breaker and indeed the fourth set. It is a shame as Paul was playing well here and I was looking forward to the thought of that fourth set. Maybe he was too?
Twelfth-seeded, Daniil Medvedev has lost from two sets up against Pierre Hugues Herbert. I said in my preview it was a nasty one and so it proved (though I also thought he was the best backup to Nole in the section). When asked after what went wrong, the Russian said “He started playing better after two sets. That was the case.” There we go. Simple.
Poor Frances Tiafoe threw up during his five-set loss to Filip Krajinovic. The American said he had nothing left to give after getting bageled in the decider. Denis Shapovalov can probably breathe a sigh of relief that his clay campaign is over after he lost to Jan-Lennard Struff in three. Benoit Paire found himself at one set all with Marius Copil and then dropped one more game in sets three and four. Other winners included Stan Wawrinka, Christian Garin, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Borna Coric and Pablo Carreno Busta. Yeah, that’s right PCB has won his first singles match since Australia.
Was I a little worried about Serena today? A little yes, it’s never nice to lose the first set 6/2. She knew her level had to improve and it was enough to take care of it very comfortably in the end against Vitalia Diatchenko. Much sterner tests lie in wait though. Talking of which Bianca Andreescu is tied at a set apiece overnight with Marie Bozukova (Lucky Loser). She finally won the second set where both players really struggled to hold. Rena will find out who she meets in the second round tomorrow when Nara and Jakupovic scrap it out.
Caroline Wozniacki is out. She lost to Veronika Kudermetova. The Dane was pretty frustrated after and I bet, like Shapovalov, she secretly cannot wait to get back on the grass. It sounds like the Russian ousted her having been bageled in the opener, as she stepped into her shots and let fly.
Petra Kvitova withdrawing with a grade two tear in her forearm has meant two things. Halep’s run looks much smoother and that section of the draw that will be looking to make the fourth round with (potentially) Halep is even wider open. Cirstea edged out her Lucky Loser opponent but may come unstuck against Aliona Bolsova next.
Kiki Bertens opened up with a nice win over Pauline Parmentier, she had never beaten her before. Interestingly, she said she preferred playing on the outside courts but knows that won’t happen so much right now. Jo Konta won her first match at the French, incredible to think really. Antonia Lottner didn’t make it easy for her but it was mission accomplished.
It is always worth noting when Kaia Kanepi comes up with a big scalp and she has taken out Julia Goerges today, it will be worth seeing how she gets on against Shuai Zhang next. There were also wins for Ash Barty, Carla Suarez Navarro and Su-Wei Hsieh. Navarro had a tough draw against Dayana Yastremska but it looks like the Russians efforts in winning last week may have come back to haunt her.
Andy Del Potro