Round 1 of the 2019 French Open concluded Tuesday, with none of the so-called “Big 3” in action on Day 3. Despite the absence of the sport’s biggest stars, it was still an entertaining day with some exciting matches, including a five-set epic that saw Alexander Zverev barely eke out John Millman.
Roland Garros Men’s Day 3 Recap
Who looked good:
Juan Martin del Potro made his Grand Slam return after injury sidelined him for several months after reaching the US Open final last September. The Argentine started well, beating a tricky opponent in Nicolas Jarry (who had match points to win the Geneva title last Saturday) in four relatively comfortable sets, looking primed for another good run in Paris.
Gael Monfils has struggled with injuries after a promising start to the season, but looks fit and ready to give it a go at his favorite tournament. His start could hardly have been better. He dropped only five games to Taro Daniel and looked in great form–pumped up and feeding off the crowd to play his best tennis.
Karen Khachanov has been having a really rough season following his Bercy title in late 2018. While beating Cedrik-Marcel Stebe is far from impressive on its own, any comfortable win will be encouraging for the Russian as he tries to end his slump.
Ivo Karlovic continues to show amazing longevity. He won his opening match at Roland Garros (at age 40) over Feliciano Lopez in four sets, firing 35 aces in the process. The match couldn’t have been any further from classic clay-court tennis, but it’s still impressive to see Karlovic remain competitive at his age.
Elliot Benchetrit won his first-ever tour match. And what a way to do it–dropping only 5 games and dominating from beginning to end against Cameron Norrie.
Who looked bad:
Alexander Zverev did eventually manage to get the win over John Millman, but showed no signs of finally being able to break through at Slam level. In fact, his victory was eerily similar to his several five-set early rounds wins last year. He was eventually routined by Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals, certainly a result he does not wish to replicate.
Bernard Tomic has never been comfortable on clay. Even for his standards, though, this was a meek and uneventful capitulation. He lost handily to Taylor Fritz, whose favorite surface isn’t exactly clay either.
Match of the day:
This has to go to the battle between Zverev and Millman. The quality was good in spots, and it was a very dramatic match with lots of swings. At first Zverev looked like he would win with relative ease, but at one point Millman appeared firmly in the ascendancy. In the fifth set, Zverev managed to hold his nerve on serve while Millman got broken from 40-0 up, which sealed his fate.
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