Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka led a handful of men’s seeds exiting in the first round on Day 2 of the French Open.
Entering Roland Garros after experiencing a back issue late in the claycourt season, Wawrinka was out-hit by Spaniard Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia Lopez 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
“I’ve had ups and downs,” Wawrinka said. “That’s why I’m saying I am not at the level of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, because they have been around for many years, and they win everything. I know I’ll have the level. I could defeat them, but it’s different…I need to put the puzzle back together, find solutions, because the pressure is different.”
Other seeds exiting Monday were the injured No. 9 seed Kei Nishokori bowing out to Slovak Martin Klizan 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-2, and No. 30-seeded Canadian Vasek “Popsicle” Pospisil, who is still getting penalized for returning to quickly from injury, losing to Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
Leading the top seeds were world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who looked like he had shrugged off his iffy claycourt season with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 win over American Robby Ginepri.
“It was very important for me, because it gave me the opportunity of having two days’ break so that I can practice,” Nadal said. “That’s always positive. When you win, you’re always happy. Of course, as always, I had ups and downs, and I could have played being a bit more aggressive.”
The No. 279-ranked Ginepri gained the main draw after winning the USTA’s claycourt contest for the American men’s wildcard.
“Always wanted to play [Rafa] on clay and see how good he is,” Ginepri said. “He showed me a lesson today. A lot of positives to take away. It was fun out there today, even though the scoreline didn’t really reflect it. Thought the match was a little tighter than it showed.”
The other Top 10 winner on the day was world No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who eased past Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Other seeded winners were No. 14 Fabio “The Fabulous One” Fognini, No. 17 Tommy Robredo, No. 18 Ernests Gulbis, No. 25 Marin Cilic, No. 26 Feliciano Lopez, No. 27 Roberto Bautista, and No. 29 Gilles Simon.
Other unseeded notable winners were Austrian comer Dominic Thiem who topped French veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu in straights, Argentine Facundo Bagnis who outlasted veteran Julien Benneteau 18-16 in the fifth, veteran Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer who beat David “The Boffin” Goffin in four, and German comer Tobias Kamke who dismissed Miloslav Mecir Jr. in straights.
“Given the fact it was Roland Garros, of course it’s cruel,” said the French Benneteau after his marathon loss. “But honestly, I want to congratulate him. He was huge. He served perfectly each time. He was present everywhere on the court. Sometimes it’s just hard.”
In women’s play, Top 10ers Petra Kvitova and Dominika Cibulkova were winners, but not after some testy moments in the first sets against unseeded opponents.
The No. 5-seeded Kvitova topped Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-2, while the No. 9-seeded Cibulkova defeated France’s Virginie Razzano 7-5, 6-0.
“You know, it wasn’t easy today,” said Cibulkova, who found herself down a break early in the first set, on Razzano who famously upset Serena Williams a few years back at the French. “I was prepared for a really tough match, because Virginie, she’s a great player. With her, you never know. At 5-4 on her serve, I just changed a little bit on my return. I went a little bit forward to giver her less time.”
The No. 7-seeded Maria Sharapova, the former French Open champ who is surprisingly on few “Who to Watch” lists, defeated Russian countrywoman Ksenia Pervak 6-1, 6-2.
“Going into a first round match at a Grand Slam, you want to be solid and do the things you need to do,” said Sharapova, who hopes to reach the quarterfinals and a meeting with world No. 1 Serena Williams, who has been her career roadblock. “It’s never easy, no matter how good you’re feeling or how bad you’re feeling. It’s just a different story once you get on the court.”
In the lone seeded upset on the day, Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier rode the crowd support to a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 17 Roberta Vinci.
Other seeds advancing Monday were No. 12 Flavia Pennetta, No. 16 Sabine Lisicki, No. 18 Eugenie Bouchard, No. 19 Samantha Stosur who topped last week’s first-time title winner Monica Puig 6-1, 6-1; No. 20 Alize Cornet, No. 28 Andrea Petkovic, and the only seed in play Monday that needed three sets to win, No. 32 Elena Vesnina who defeated American Christina Mchale 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-3.
Among unseeded winners of note were former world junior No. 1 Taylor Townsend over fellow American Vania King 7-5, 6-1 in her first French Open appearance, and German ball-batterer Julia Goerges easily over Portugal’s Michelle Larcher de Brito 6-2, 6-3.
Suspended due to darkness, Canadian Sharon Fichman led No. 6 Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 1-5 when play was postponed to Tuesday.
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