Day 1 at the 2019 French Open was inevitably dominated by Roger Federer’s return to Paris, four years after he last played this tournament back in 2015. His match was expectedly uneventful as he quickly dispatched Lorenzo Sonego on Chartrier, losing only eight games. Nevertheless, the crowd was still excited to see him after all those years.
Roland Garros Day 1 Men’s Recap
Even aside from the Federer match, the first day of the tournament didn’t really bring much intrigue. The top seeds all won with relative ease, and only one seed lost on the opening day.
The one seed who did get eliminated, however, was Marco Cecchinato. Cecchinato reached the semifinals last year, beating Novak Djokovic on the way, but he shockingly fell to veteran Nicolas Mahut after being up two sets to love.
Who looked good:
Kei Nishikori routined Quentin Halys. While this might be a somewhat expected result, the Japanese man has struggled quite a bit since the Australian Open. Since then, he lost to lower ranked players in every Masters 1000, including the three clay Masters (where he lost to Herbert, Wawrinka, and Schwartzman). He has to be encouraged by this strong start.
David Goffin lost only four games against Ricardas Berankis. To an even greater extent than Nishikori, Goffin has been struggling this season, making it seem like his Top 10 days are a thing of the past. While Berankis on clay is far from a menacing opponent, losing only four games in a Grand Slam match is always noteworthy.
Casper Ruud dominated Ernests Gulbis in three sets, with a bagel to clinch it, playing some very smart and dominant tennis. He might be on collision course with Federer in the 3rd round. Of course, he would have to get by Matteo Berrettini first, who defeat Pablo Andujar in four sets.
Who looked bad:
Grigor Dimitrov defeated Janko Tipsarevic in five sets, so at least he’s through to the second round. His struggles in dispatching essentially a semi-retired player are far from encouraging going forward, though. He had a two-set lead but couldn’t close it out before the fifth.
Diego Schwartzman needed five sets and almost four hours to beat Marton Fucsovics on clay. After a semifinal in Rome and a nice draw here in Paris, the Argentine was surely hoping for a strong run, but his start was far from encouraging.
Marco Cecchinato might exit the top 20 after this tournament with the shocking Round 1 defeat to Nicolas Mahut. Mahut has always struggled on clay and had only played Challengers in singles so far this year.
Match of the day:
Cecchinato vs Mahut is the only real choice here. A five-set epic with a turnaround from 2-0 where the veteran home hero upsetting last year’s semifinalist, and the drama was at its apex. The crowd really got into the match, cheering Mahut on and spurring on to victory. The Frenchman celebrated as if he had won the title after he won. Fan of his or not, him celebrating the win with his son was a touching moment, especially in front of an exuberant home crowd.
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