US Open winner Dominic Thiem navigated a testing first-round French Open tie against former Major champion Marin Cilic while Rafael Nadal began his pursuit of a record-tying 20th men’s Grand Slam title with a straight-sets victory on Monday.
The second seed defeated Egor Gerasimov, the world number 83 from Belarus, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to launch his assault on a 13th French Open title, 15 years after his debut triumph.
“I’m really happy to be back at Chatrier. Thanks to the spectators for being here,” Nadal said. “Hopefully it’ll be back to normal next year and I’ll play in front of the beautiful crowd.”
The Spaniard is appearing for the first time in Paris without a clay title to his credit and skipped the recent US hardcourt swing over Covid-19 concerns. He smacked 32 winners to just 20 unforced errors to down Gerasimov, one of 31 men entered into his first French Open main draw.
Thiem, the runner-up to Nadal in Paris the past two years, defeated 2014 US Open champion Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in their second encounter at a major this month.
Having captured his maiden Slam in New York, Thiem is trying to become the only man in the Open era to win his first two majors at successive tournaments.
A steady display from Thiem saw the Austrian break Cilic six times under the roof of Court Philippe Chatrier on another gloomy day at Roland Garros, pushed back from its customary May-June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I really love this tournament, it’s by far my best Grand Slam tournament so far,” said Thiem, who plays American qualifier Jack Sock in the second round. “I’m really happy with my first round. The transition to the cold conditions and clay worked really well.”
Among the seeds to fall were eighth seed Gael Monfils, 14th seed Fabio Fognini and 19th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime. Monfils lost 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to Alexander Bublik, likely extending the wait for a first French men’s major champion since Yannick Noah in 1983.
Giustino tops Moutet in six-hour marathon
Italian qualifier Lorenzo Giustino outlasted France’s Corentin Moutet 0-6, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 18-16 in the second longest match in French Open history at six hours and five minutes.
World number 157 Giustino secured his first Grand Slam main draw win after a final set lasting 180 minutes in a match held over from Sunday.
Moutet won more points than Giustino – 242 to 217 – but the 29-year-old journeyman emerged the victor in a contest that fell 28 minutes short of the record marathon tie between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement in 2004.
Giustino will advance to play 12th seed Diego Schwartzman for a place in the third round.
Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev crashed out in the French Open first round for the fourth year running following a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-1 defeat by Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics on Monday.
Russian Medvedev, a runner-up at the 2019 US Open and semi-finalist in New York this year, has yet to win a match at Roland Garros since his main draw debut in 2017.
Jiri Vesely (CZE) bt Liam Broady (GBR) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) bt Emilio Gomez (ECU) 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3
Lorenzo Giustino (ITA) bt Corentin Moutet (FRA) 0-6, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 18-16
Hugo Gaston (FRA) bt Maxime Janvier (FRA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-3
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) bt Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x19) 7-5, 6-3, 6-3
Casper Ruud (NOR x28) bt Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 6-1, 6-3, 6-1
Tommy Paul (USA) bt James Duckworth (AUS) 6-2, 6-3, 6-2
Jack Sock (USA) bt Reilly Opelka (USA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
Dominic Thiem (AUT x3) bt Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) bt Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x14) 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-0
Pedro Martinez (ESP) bt Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) 7-5, 6-4, 6-0
Mackenzie McDonald (USA) bt Steven Diez (CAN) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Daniel Galan (COL) bt Cameron Norrie (GBR) 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
Tennys Sandgren (USA) bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL x29) 7-5, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/1), 11-9
Karen Khachanov (RUS x15) bt Kamil Majchrzak (POL) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-3
Guido Pella (ARG) bt Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-4
Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP x17) bt John Millman (AUS) 6-3, 6-2, 7-5
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER x30) bt Frances Tiafoe (USA) 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3
Daniel Altmaier (GER) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-4
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Daniil Medvedev (RUS x4) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-1
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-4, 6-3, 6-0
Nikola Milojevic (SRB) bt Filip Krajinovic (SRB x26) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) bt Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) 6-2, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 6-4
Alexander Bublik (KAZ) bt Gael Monfils (FRA x8) 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
With AFP Inputs