The French had a good opening day in Rio with three players in the men’s field all advancing out of the first round.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame trouble against Tunisian Malek Jaziri who served for the match in the second, to fight back and win 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“I was very concerned because I was thinking this may be my last Olympic Games,” said Tsonga. “The next one is in four years and I don’t know if I will play or not or if I will be able to keep my level at this stage so I don’t want to go out of tis Olympic Games without playing my game, without taking pleasure. Today I was close to doing that, so it was really good for me to win and do better in the next match.”
Gilles Simon followed by knocking out Croatian teen Borna Coric 6-4, 7-6(1) and then in the evening Gael Monfils stayed hot cruising past Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-1, 6-3.
While France went 3-0, American men went just 1-3 as an ailing Jack Sock was stunned to world No. 118 Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-4. Afterward, Sock complained of a bout of walking pneumonia.
“I’ve had the cough going and I felt something in my lungs, and I thought it would get better but it didn’t,” said Sock. “So I went in the night before I came here to the doctor and he said I had walking pneumonia. I was still trying to play with that out here and it’s not easy when all of these guys are very, very good players.
“My team has gone back and forth but I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I wanted to come down and be part of the Olympic team and experience it. Maybe after this I’ll take the necessary precautions. I was going to come down and experience it no matter what. Hopefully I can get on some antibiotics and get it taken care of.”
Brian Baker fell to Japan’s Yuichi Sugita and Denis Kudla was crushed by Andrej Martin of Slovakia. The only win came by Steve Johnson who routed Darian King of the Barbados 6-3, 6-2.
The highest playing Saturday was Kei Nishikori and the Toronto finalist had no trouble opening the Rio event defeating French Open quarterfinalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-4.
Marin Cilic, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Juan Monaco were also winners. And Thanasi Kokkinakis’s return was cut short by Gastao Elias.
On Sunday, the big guns come out as Novak Djokovic joins medal winners Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray on court.
Djokovic just won the Toronto event and needs only the gold to complete the Career Golden Slam. He’ll take on Juan Martin del Potro in a rematch of their bronze match in 2012.
“If I play hard, if I serve well and if my forehands work in a good way then maybe I’ve got a little chance to win,” said del Potro. “This match is going to be completely different than four years ago.
“My game is not good enough as four years ago. I’m still looking forward to do a good match and I’m confident that if I have a good crowd supporting me it will be interesting.”
Nadal, who already has the Golden Slam, will play his first match in over two months against Argentine Federico Delbonis. How will his left wrist respond?
And Andy Murray begins his title defense against Viktor Troicki.
SUNDAY RIO OLYMPICS SCHEDULE
starting at 10:45
MS 1 BROWN Dustin (GER) vs BELLUCCI Thomaz (BRA)
WS 1 (1) WILLIAMS Serena (USA) vs GAVRILOVA Daria (AUS)
MS 1 TROICKI Viktor (SRB) vs (2) MURRAY Andy (GBR)
not before 18:45
WS 1 (3) MUGURUZA Garbine (ESP) vs JANKOVIC Jelena (SRB)
MS 1 (1) DJOKOVIC Novak (SRB) vs DEL POTRO Juan Martin (ARG)
starting at 11:00
WS 1 (ITF) DUQUE-MARINO Mariana (COL) vs (2) KERBER Angelique (GER)
MS 1 (3) NADAL Rafael (ESP) vs DELBONIS Federico (ARG)
WS 1 GARCIA Caroline (FRA) vs (ITF) PEREIRA Teliana (BRA)
WD 1 (1) WILLIAMS / WILLIAMS (USA) vs SAFAROVA / STRYCOVA (CZE)
MD 1 (ITF) BELLUCCI / SA (BRA) vs (2) MURRAY / MURRAY (GBR)
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