Alexander Zverev came on top of a bruising four-hour battle to reach the second round of French Open on Tuesday, while Argentinian dangerman Juan Martin del Potro also made it to the next round. Defending women champion Simona Halep also registered a victory in her first round match against Ajla Tomljanovic.
Quarter finalist in last year’s Roland Garros last year, Zverev won the hard fought match against Australia’s John Millman with a scoreline of 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 2-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3. The fifth seed from Germany fired 57 winners past Millman, the world number 56 who had stunned Roger Federer last year. Post his victory Zverev said, “John is a tough player who beat Federer so I knew it would be difficult today. It was very windy today so that made the conditions very difficult. It was a first match against a great opponent. I got through and that’s all that matters.” In the bid to win his first Grand Slam, he will now face Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer.
On the other hand, Argentine eighth seed Del Potro, made it to the second round with a win over Nicolas Jerry, world number 58 from Chile. A semi-finalist at Paris in 2009 and 2018, Del Potro, who has some injury issue with his knee, said, “I think I’m playing well at the moment, but my main goal is still the knee, my health”. Next up for the giant Argentine is a clash against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.
On the women front, defending champion and world number three Simona Halep also began her tournament with a victory. She proceeded to the second round with a win over world number 47 Ajla Tomljanovic in her first round tie.
In what was touted as the first big clash of this year’s French Open, former world number one Victoria Azarenka emerged winner against the 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko. Two-time Grand Slam winner Azarenka defeated her opponent 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in a match which featured 13 breaks of serve. Ostapenko has now tasted defeats in first rounds in two successive years after triumphing here in 2017. Azarenka, now ranked 43rd in the world will take part in another big-clash against the top seed Naomi Osaka in the next round.
Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, the surprise champion at Indian Wells, marked her Roland Garros debut by beating Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. The 18-year-old, playing for the first time since Miami after suffering a shoulder injury, hit 58 winners and 60 unforced errors in the tie suspended due to darkness on Monday night. There were also 17 breaks of serve in the match which stretched to over three hours. Other early winners Tuesday included Monte Carlo champion Fabio Fognini, seeded nine, who defeated Andreas Seppi in an all-Italian clash, 6-3, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.
(With inputs from PTI)