American Andy Roddick and Austrian Jurgen Melzer were first-round upset victims as the French Open kicked off with Sunday play at Roland Garros.
Roddick, the No. 26 seed, was dispatched in four sets by homecountry favorite Nicolas Mahut, while Melzer blew a two-set lead against German Mike Berrer.
“I wasn’t playing really well,” Roddick said. “I moved just horrendously out here. My first step is just so bad on this stuff. I feel like I’m always shuffling or hopping or not stopping or something. So my footwork on this stuff now is just really bad.”
No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 9 Juan Martin del Potro were the lone Top 10 seeds in action. Tsonga handled Russian Alex Kuznetsov in four sets, much to the delight of the home crowd, while del Potro, heavily-bandaged knee and all, outlasted Spaniard Alex Montanes in four sets, dropping only three games over the final two sets.
“I’m still working with the physio every day, trying to recover,” Del Potro said regarding his knee. “I’m glad to go through — I will have two days to work with the physio on my knee. So I have time to recover and to be in good shape for the next match.”
Other seeded winners were No. 14 Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, No. 18 Stan Wawrinka, and No. 21 Marin Cilic.
Highlights Monday on the men’s side are (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Potito Starace, (11) Gilles Simon vs. Ryan Harrison, (3) Roger Federer vs. Tobias Kamke, Michael Llodra vs. Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, (28) Viktor Troicki vs. Thomaz Bellucci, (23) Radek “The Worm” Stepanek vs. David Goffin, Xavier “X-Man” Malisse vs. American wildcard Brian Baker, and (22) Andreas Seppi vs. Nikolay Davydenko.
There were no upsets on the women’s side Sunday, unless you consider American Melanie Oudin actually winning a match an upset.
The wildcard Oudin advanced into the second round after a straight-set win over Swede Johanna Larsson, gaining some much-needed confidence. Former No. 1 Venus Williams, unseeded, escaped with a three-set win over unheralded Argentine PaulaOrmaechea 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
“She played beautifully,” Williams said of Ormaechea. “I was mostly hoping that my experience would help me out.”
No. 6 Sam Stosur led the lukewarm seeded offerings, dusting Brit Elena Baltacha 6-4, 6-0.
“It’s nice to be on a real claycourt again and actually feel like you can play more clay court tennis,” said Stosur, getting some more shots in at the Madrid blue clay. “I think that’s one of the things that’s probably annoyed a lot of people is that you’re on a clay court but you can’t play real clay court tennis. I think it is obviously a beautiful court to play on. The ball definitely gets up high. You can use your kick serve and topspin groundstrokes.”
German Angelique Kerber was the only other Top 10 seed in action, topping Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai in straights.
Other seeded winners Sunday were No. 13 Ana Ivanovic, No. 20 Lucie Safarova, No. 21 Sara Errani (d. Aussie Casey Dellacqua in three), and No. 26 Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Qualifiers into the second round Sunday were American Alexa Glatch and German Dinah Pfizenmaier, who were both three-set winners.
Highlights Monday on the women’s side are slim again with (1) Victoria Azarenka vs. Alberta Brianti, (7) Na Li vs. Sorana Cirstea, (31) Jie Zheng vs. Alize Cornet, and (12) Sabine Lisicki vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
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