Zverev And Del Potro Fight Into Second Round At Roland Garros

Alexander Zverev and John Millman at Court Philippe-Chatrier

PARIS, May 28, 2019 (by Sharada Rajagopalan)

The last of the first-round matches at Roland Garros were played on Tuesday, with the few remaining players in the top-half of the singles draw filling up the roster of play. Among the men, in the initial order of play, the seeded players won their respective matches. There were a couple of five-setters, too, in the mix.

The Derby clashes

Eighth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro won the Latin American derby against Geneva Open finalist, Chilean Nicolas Jarry. The two-time French Open semi-finalist needed two hours and seven minutes to claim a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory. This was del Potro’s fourth tournament this year who had fractured his patella during the 2018 Shanghai Open, and had to take an extended time away from the circuit to recuperate.

In his press conference after his win, the 30-year-old said that he was focusing on being healthy for the rest of the year hereafter. “I think I’m playing well at the moment, but my main goal is still the knee, my health. And I’m looking forward to be 100% in the second part of the year, trying to change my goals on tour and if I get that, I will be happy,” he said. He added that once he was done getting the necessary rehab on his knee, he would prioritise getting results. “I think I’m playing well at the moment, but my main goal is still the knee, my health. And I’m looking forward to be 100% in the second part of the year, trying to change my goals on tour and if I get that, I will be happy.”

Meanwhile, in the Italian derby between Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi, the former won in four sets. The ninth seed, who lifted his first career Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo in April this year claimed the win 6-3, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 21 minutes. This victory also marked Fognini’s 50th match win at the Majors.

A half-glass full for the Britons

Kyle Edmund’s first round against France’s Jeremy Chardy was postponed from Monday to Tuesday on account of lack of visibility. The 28th seed did not take much time on his second day on the court wrapping up the match 7-6(1), 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

Speaking to the press, Edmund acknowledged his satisfaction about the result despite the match spilling onto two days.

“Yeah, very good. Yeah, good five-set win. Kind of the way it happened today, it’s kind of losing a little bit of emotion from yesterday just because it’s a different day and stuff. But going back to yesterday, to come through that was great for me. Very happy with it. You know, great fight, good character, good composure, you know, especially in an environment like that. And physically and just — it was lots of positives for me. That was great to take forward. So, yeah, very pleased,” he said.

Edmund’s compatriot Cameron Norrie, however, did not fare so well against French qualifier Elliot Benchetrit. Benchetrit shocked everyone in pulling off a 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 win in an hour and 24 minutes. This was quite a setback given Norrie looked to have a fortuitous change in his draw, after his drawn first-round opponent Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the tournament citing illness.

In his post-match press conference, Norrie said that things did not turn out the way he hoped they would, and that there was nothing he could do about it. “Honestly, I felt good. Everything was great. Yeah, I just didn’t — I was hitting the ball well in the warmup, and I thought I was going to be fine. It was just one of those days. It was just a tough day, and I didn’t — it was tough for me to kind of turn it around and I couldn’t find a way. I tried everything, and it was tough.”

Alexander Zverev squeezes through

It was a tough win for Alexander Zverev against Australian John Millman. The No. 5 seed from Germany secured a 7-6(4), 6-3, 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory in four hours and eight minutes. To put Zverev’s result in context, his match began at the same time as del Potro-Jarry, and Fognini-Seppi’s but continued long after they had exited the courts.

The Geneva Open champion led by a break in all but the second and third sets but struggled to find his rhythm against Millman, who fought for every point – more so, when he was down service breaks. Zverev, who is without his coach Ivan Lendl this fortnight in the French capital, was the most passive in the third set which he lost after going down two service breaks.

However, he kept his nerve and maintained pressure on Millman’s serve in the fifth set. In the eighth game of the set, Millman finally cracked, giving Zverev a much-needed opening to close out the match. Which he did in the following game.

“I’m here to play my best. I’m here to win matches,” Zverev said. “Today was a tough one. You know, I’m excited to what’s coming ahead. Most important, I’m still in the tournament, and that’s all that matter.”

Next up will be #NextGenATP Swede Mikael Ymer. Zverev won the only previous meeting between the two three years ago. “We played in Stockholm. It was a great match. Tough match. Obviously he’s improved a lot. Had a few, I think, very good matches here. Came through qualifying. He has great rhythm, great confidence. It’s going to be an interesting one.”