One of the hottest claycourt players of the French Open lead-up exited in the first round on Sunday at Roland Garros when No. 23 seed Ernests Gulbis retired to Frenchman Julien Benneteau with injury after trailing two sets to none.
Gulbis recorded a win on clay over world No. 1 Roger Federer at earlier at Rome, and stretched Rafael Nadal in a three-set loss at the same event.
“I stretched my leg, my hamstrings, and I heard two cracks,” said Gulbis of an apparent thigh injury. “I hope it’s nothing serious, because it can be anything, but it’s a little stretch of the muscle.”
Gulbis was the only seeded upset on Sunday where No. 5 Robin Soderling, No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 10 Marin Cilic, No. 11 Mikhail Youzhny, No. 29 Al Montanes, and No. 32 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez all moved safely into the second round.
All advanced relatively easily save for the homecountry favorite Tsonga, who was pushed to a fifth set by German Daniel Brands, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(2), 7-5.
Five-setters were the order of the day among unseeded players, with French homecountryman Edouard Roger-Vasselin topping South African Kevin Anderson 6-1 in the fifth coming from two sets down, Swiss Marco Chiudinelli edging Somdev Devvarman 6-3 in the fifth, and Fabio Fognini coming from 1-2 sets down to beat Nicolas Massu.
American qualifier Michael Yani was tied at 8-8 in the fifth with Lukas Lacko when the match was halted due to darkness.
Highlights on Monday in Paris are (1) Roger Federer vs. Peter Luczak, (3) Novak Djokovic vs. Evgeny Korolev, (4) Andy Murray vs. Richard Gasquet, (Q) Jesse Witten vs. (25) Marcos Baghdatis, and Viktor Troicki vs. (21) Tommy Robredo.
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