Following a tough week in Geneva, it didn’t get any easier for World No. 5 Alexander Zverev in his French Opener Tuesday. The German was the big favorite against John Millman who never before had won a match in Paris.
Zverev jumped out to an early break but once the Australian broke back, one could sense it would be another long day for Zverev. Eventually, Zverev broke at 4-all in the fifth and closed out Millman, denying the 29-year-old another Federer-like shocker.
Zverev, who had to go the distance in his last three matches in Geneva, was again pushed to the limit by a much lower ranked opponent.
“It’s been a few not easy weeks, easy months for me, personally as well,” Zverev said after the 4-hour, 8-minute tussle on Chatrier. “So I just reminded myself that I’m still one of the best tennis players in the world and just reminded myself a little bit that everything is good and [that I’m going] to get another opportunity to play here in the second round and just point out some positive things.”
Zverev, who made his lone Slam quarterfinal here last year, will now meet young Swedish qualifier Michael Ymer.
At the same time as the Zverev drama, 2018 finalist Juan Martin del Potro also found himself in some trouble on Lenglen, down a set before rallying on the man Zverev beat in the Geneva final, Nicolas Jarry. Del Potro advanced over his fellow 6-foot-6 South American 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
“I didn’t have much energy,” admitted Del Potro. “I had never played against him and also the weather conditions (were not good)… It’s not wonderful to start a match like that. It’s something I have to improve in the future. Throughout the match, I felt better. I started dictating the game.”
Next for Delpo is the much smaller Yoshito Nishioka who eliminated American Mackenzie McDonald in five sets.
On the final day of the third round, Karen Khachanov and Fabio Fognini were also Top 10 seeded winners. Fognini ousted countryman and good friend Andreas Seppi in four sets.
Elsewhere, Taylor Fritz continued his good clay spring becoming the only American man to make the second round with a win over the troubled Bernard Tomic. After the match, Tomic wasn’t having any part of the French Open or France in general.
Bernard Tomic's press conference was pretty unreal (not that I'm surprised). pic.twitter.com/A0gkqfYcVv
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 28, 2019
Kyle Edmund closed out Jeremy Chardy winning the last two games after their Monday night suspension at 5-all in the fifth. France did get a few through today as Lucas Pouille, Greroire Barrere, Antoine Hoang and Elliot Benchitrit were all winners. And they weren’t done.
Gael Monfils and Taro Daniel met in the last match on Chatrier and the Frenchmen got through 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 just as the sun was setting after 9:30pm.
“I really wanted to finish today. I didn’t want to play a set tomorrow,” Monfils said. “I’m happy I managed to play well, and I’m very happy about that.
“I paid a price at the beginning of the second set because I was too fast from the back of the court, and I could have waited a bit to slow down, ease the pressure. And then luckily I was able to win this very long game at 5-4 and go two sets to love,” Monfils added. “It’s not easy. But two sets to love, I was quite happy to win this game for one good reason. I was serving afterwards, and I was going to put a lot of pressure, serve very hard, to show that I want to go faster.”
Monfils will face Adrian Mannarino who ended about the same time as Monfils, but needed five sets to beat Stefano Travaglia.
And in the oldest combined age match in the Open Era at the French, 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic edged 37-year-old Feliciano Lopez in four sets.
On Wednesday, the second round begins with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer back in action against unheralded Germans. Nadal will meet qualifier Yannick Maden while Federer resumes his return to Roland Garros against lucky loser Oscar Otte.
Stefanos Tsitsipas also is on the schedule and in the best match of the day, Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lock up in a rematch of their 2015 quarterfinal won by Tsonga.
WEDNESDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe CHATRIER Début à 11h00
Sloane STEPHENS (USA) v Sara SORRIBES TORMO (ESP)
Kei NISHIKORI (JPN)  v Jo-Wilfried TSONGA (FRA)
Oscar OTTE (GER) v Roger FEDERER (SUI) 
Viktoria KUZMOVA (SVK) v Kiki BERTENS (NED) 
Court Suzanne LENGLEN Début à 11h00
Kateryna KOZLOVA (UKR) v Elina SVITOLINA (UKR)
Yannick MADEN (GER) v Rafael NADAL (ESP) 
Petra MARTIC (CRO)  v Kristina MLADENOVIC (FRA)
Benoit PAIRE (FRA) v Pierre-Hugues HERBERT (FRA)
You Might Like:
Isner Stops Del Potro Streak, Will Face Zverev For Miami Masters Title
Del Potro v Dimitrov, Zverev v Sock In Stockholm SFs Saturday; Edmund Into First ATP SF In Antwerp
Alexander Zverev Says He’s Better Now Than A Year Ago
Federer Rallies In Basel, Cilic v Del Potro SF; Tsonga Sacks Zverev In Vienna
Nishikori Knocks Out Del Potro In Basel, Wawrinka Stunned By Elder Zverev