The French Open Day 1: Here's What You Missed...
The first day of the french open has come to an end. Some would say it wasn’t like previous years, with many big names missing from the schedule but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a whole lot of great Tennis to be watched.
It was an interesting start to the tournament as there was a last-minute change to the schedule of play. Dimitrov was supposed to play Viktor Troicki but 30-minutes before play, he pulled out. The 7th lucky loser; Mohamed Safwat stepped in, and gave it his best shot.
As expect, Dimitrov won his match in straight sets; 6-1, 6-4, 7-6. Dimitrov will face Donaldson in the second round. The second seed and the "one who could beat Nadal"; Zverev, won his match in straight sets.
I hadn’t realised that six lucky losers before Safwat had actually made it into the draw after a number of players pulled out.
Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov pulled out on Saturday, leaving Nadal facing Bolelli. Timea Bacsinszky pulled out after failing to recover from a calf injury leaving Garcia Lopez facing a fellow qualifier; Dalila Jakupović.
Lu Yen-hsun pulled out last-minute on Saturday night will an ongoing shoulder injury. Hyeon Chung also pulled out with an ankle injury. Nick Kyrgios also pulled out today with an ongoing elbow injury.
There has been a significant rule change that has definitely impacted the french open thus far. Mirroring a change made on the lower-level ATP tour, players who make it to the main draw, and withdraw pre-match but with time left to allow a lucky loser to take their place will receive 50% of the prize money earnt by the lucky loser taking their place.
This new rule has come into play to encourage players to allow someone who is fitter, play in their place whilst still receiving a financial benefit. The world of tennis does not need an unfit player taking the court, playing for less than 20 minutes then withdrawing just to make sure they receive their prize money.
The first result came from Ekaterina Makarova and as I predicted, a very quick, straight set win over Saisai Zheng. She will continue her french open battle facing Strycova in the second round.
As expected, 26th seed; Dzumhur beat Denis Kudla in straight sets and will face Radu Albot in the second round who knocked out wildcard entry; Gregoire Barrere in five sets.
Kontaveit continues her good clay-court form, beating Madison Brengle in three sets. Who she will face is still to be decided.
Fourth seed; Svitolina beat Ajla Tomljanovic in a tight two-setter and will continue her fight to win the french open, playing Kuzmova in the second round after she knocked out former champion; Francesca Schiavone.
Former world number 6 and french open crowd favourite; Gael Monfils had a hard time against fellow french compatriot; Benchetrit. He was down 4-1 in the first set but in Monfils style, managed to win. He will face Martin Kilzan as he beat Laslo Djere in four sets.
10th seed; Carreno-Busta won his first round match in four sets. He will face Delbonis in the second round.
Also winning their first round matches; Martic, Nishikori, Brady, Stephens, Cornet, Berrettini, Verdasco and Pouille.
There was quite a lot surprising defeats on day one.
The first was the 22nd seed; Konta going out in straight sets to Putintseva.
We also saw Venus Williams lose to Wang in straight sets as well as Schiavone also leaving the open in straight sets to Kuzmova.
The defending women's champion; Ostapenko lost in straight sets to Kozlova.
In the men's draw, it wasn’t plain sailing either. Karlovic lost to french hopeful Moutet in straight sets. Moutet will play 8th seed David Goffin in the second round.
More first-round battles tomorrow so stay tuned for my predictions on the 50 matches taking place across the mens and womens french open draws.