PARIS, May 23, 2016
Reigning Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka prevents a historic defeat, winning 4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 against Lukas Rosol in his opening match on Philippe Chatrier court. Both players met for the third time this season, the second time within seven days. Wawrinka beat Rosol at the Australian Open as well as on his way to claim the Geneva Open title last week.
“It was a really tough match today. Conditions were really slow and heavy. It was a typical first round for sure and I didn’t play my best tennis in general with a lot of mistakes. But he was playing really well. He was going for his shot. Didn’t miss much until he started to get a little bit tired in the fourth and fifth set. But before, I was always under pressure,” Wawrinka was relieved afterwards.
Otherwise the Swiss would have become Paris’ first defending champion, who fell in the opening round. There were only four occasions on which the title holder lost in the second round: Andres Gimeno in 1973 (lost to Guillermo Vilas), Gustavo Kuerten in 1998 (lost to Marat Safin), Andre Agassi in 2000 (lost to Karol Kucera) and Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2004 (lost to Igor Andreev).
Wawrinka wasn’t aware of this fact and has still the chance to become the eighth men in the Open Era, who successfully retains the title at Roland Garros.
“I didn’t know that a defending champion has never lost in his opening match. And it’s still not the case. So it’s good,” he laughed.
“Nonetheless, I came back to play a match, not to enjoy and think about what I did last year. For sure when I entered the court I had all the memories from last year, but after that, I was here to beat Rosol today.”
— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) 23. Mai 2016
Wawrinka will take on Taro Daniel next. The 23-year-old from Japan is appearing at this second French Open and benefitted from the retirement of Martin Klizan at 3-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 3-0 due to pain from a cervicobrachial neuralgia.
Asia’s top-player Kei Nishikori also found his way to the second round, as he defeated Simone Bolelli 6-1, 7-5, 6-3.
“It wasn’t easy today. Actually, I started really well. I was up 6-1, 3-0. I was pretty aggressive moving the ball pretty well. He started playing little better in the second, but still, I thought it was a great match for me,” the world number six said.
“I really feel confident on clay, especially in the last three years. I won in Barcelona two times. I couldn’t defend this title this year, but I beat top 10 guys on clay. I mean, it’s not yet my best surface maybe, as I prefer hard courts. But on clay, the biggest challenge is beating Rafa and Novak and, you know, Andy, too. I think that’s my next challenge,” Nishikori told but will first take on Andrey Kuznetsov in the second round.