After a quiet opening Sunday – albeit one full of quality – the first full day delivered all the ingredients of your typical Grand Slam recipe.
Marathon contests, retirements, home-grown fortunes fluctuating, some major upsets and a spattering of rain delays to allow the punters a quick macaron or five.
The biggest story of the day was of course Aussie Open champ Stanislas Wawrinka’s exit at the first hurdle. In an at times horrid display with over 60 unforced errors the Swiss fell in four to clay specialist and no slouch in the seedkilling stakes Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
The 3rd seed’s exit, and the manner in which it happened: 6-0 in the fourth, is a significant shock when one looks at that Monte-Carlo victory last month.
The other ‘big guns’ had it easier today with both Djokovic and Nadal sailing through their openers. The only other big scalp to fall was the still inconsistent seventh seed Nishikori who was beaten in straight sets by Slovakia’s Martin Klizan.
Elsewhere there were victories for Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon, Marin Cilic, Fabio Fognini and Ernests Gulbis as Argentine Facundo Bagnis prevailed in a monster match-up with French fave Julien Benneteau 18-16 in the fifth after four hours.
The necessary mundanities of British media shining the spotlight exclusively on bit players like James Wardwere today snuffed out as the Brit fell in four to five time quarterfinalist here Tommy Robredo. Ward – the first British man to qualify for the main draw in 41 years outclassed the Spaniard in the first set before succumbing to the wily veteran.
Apart from Roberta Vinci’s continuing struggles resulting in the 17th seed’s early exit here it was a day of impressive victories for the star names in the women’s game.
Sharapova breezed through with the loss of just three games but there were equally dominant victories for Alize Cornet, Sam Stosur, Genie Bouchard and Flavia Pennetta.
Cibulkova, Kvitova, Lisicki, Petkovic and Vesnina also won through tougher encounters.
Al’s Hero of the Day – Facundo Bagnis
Wawrinka’s conqueror Garcia-Lopez, Ward and Stosur all get mentions here but surely today belongs to the Argentine journeyman. After all, where tougher to engage in a four-hour epic but in Paris against a Frenchman? Tres bien.
Kenny de Schepper
Kenny de Schepper
Seeds to fall