Bienvenue ! Yesterday saw Day one of the French Open kick off in style, thankfully in recent years this curious Sunday opener has represented a more meaty filling than the paltry twelve matches first on offer in 2006.
Trust the French to do things differently with a Sunday start – which at first allayed quite genuine fears of a weak turnout – particularly for the early matches but the seats were soon filled come the crux.
So what were the main talking points?
Well on the men’s side all seeds progressed, but things were oh-so-close to being different as veteran duo Youzhny and Stepanek both rose from the ashes of a two set to love defecit to pull through. Fellow oldie Tursunov also progressed but he had it easier against Italy’s Starace.
Of course, this old guard lover of a blogger approves of that.
Elsewhere there were comfortable wins for Berdych, Tsonga, Raonic, Isner, Querrey, Chardy and Federer – not that many turned out for the serene Swiss.
The women’s draw saw a few more on-paper shocks and some closer battles.
Kaia Kanepi was the only seed to fall – to tricky Niculescu but a household name and former champ would also bow out.
At a glance, losses for Maria Kirilenko and 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone would be headline stories, but one look at both players’ 2014 campaign tells its own story. The Russian is still recovering from a knee injury while the Italian has simply struggled for any sort of form for the last twelve months.
I for one hope that Schavone doesn’t call it a day any time soon, her heroics in recent years mustv’e inspired this glorious Itaian renaissance with the likes of Errani, Pennetta and Vinci shaking up the top spots.
Agnieska Radwanska was the first player of RG 2014 to progress, despite wearing an old curtain, whilst both Williams siblings came through with little fuss despite the elder expected to struggle somewhat against last year’s junior French Open and Wimbledon champion.
Al’s Hero of the Day – Mikhail Youzhny and Radek Stepanek
The veteran duo share today’s accolade with their gutsy displays over Pablo Carreno Busta and Facundo Arguello. It is this fighting spirit that has seen both men remain relevant in today’s game and certainly carried their nation through more than a few Davis Cup contest. However an honourable mention must go to Frenchwoman Amandine Hesse who almost rewarded the customary French horde of support with a veritable upset against the experienced Meuesburger. Hesse’s emotions after the three setter provided one of the lasting images of a fascinating first day at the French.
Pierre –Hugues Herbert
Day 1 seeds to fall
Other notable players to fall