Sinner Starts Roland Garros Campaign With Win

Jannik Sinner

STARNBERG, September 27, 2020

Reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner made a successful Roland Garros debut following a 7-5, 6-0, 6-3 win over No. 11 seed David Goffin on a chilly and wet Sunday morning in Paris.

In the opening match on Court Philippe-Chatrier, the 19-year-old Italian converted seven of his 11 break points in earning his third Top 20 win, his second against the Belgian, of the season.

“Obviously, it’s not easy playing against him,” said Sinner. “I know him quite well before, we practised together quite a lot in Cincinnati, the US Open, Monaco. He’s a great guy. You go on court obviously to win. The first set was very tight, a lot of breaks of serve, and it was the key to manage to win the service games quite easily.

“In the beginning, that was not easy. He was returning well. I was not serving that well. But the balls here are very heavy. The court was heavy. It was not easy. But when you win the first set and go up a break, it’s a little bit easier to play. I mean, he’s a Top 15 player, so you always have to be focused. I tried to do that, and today it worked.”

Sinner, currently ranked World No. 75, will next play French qualifier Benjamin Bonzi, who beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland in four sets.

Wawrinka eases past Murray

In the headline match on Sunday of this rearranged Grand Slam tournament, Stan Wawrinka emerged victorious from the battle of the three-time Grand Slam champions, winning 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 over Andy Murray.

The 33-year-old Briton was back on a clay court for the first time since his hip problems flared up in 2017 but he was no match for his old foe from Switzerland. It was Murray’s joint worst defeat at a Grand Slam along with a semi-final loss to Rafael Nadal in Paris in 2014.

 “I need to have a long, hard think about it. It’s not for me the sort of match I would just brush aside and not give any thought to. There is obviously reasons behind a performance like that,” Murray said. “I think that’s the worst defeat maybe of my career in a Grand Slam. I don’t feel like the conditions are an excuse for it. So I’ll need to have a long, hard think and try and understand what happened.”

It was the first time two Grand Slam men’s champions faced off in the opening round of a major since Novak Djokovic dismissed Juan Carlos Ferrero at Wimbledon 2012. Wawrinka will try to carry his good level into the second round against in-form German Dominik Koepfer.

Sixth seed Alexander Zverev, runner-up at this year’s US Open, overcame a slow start in his first clay-court match of the season to ease past Dennis Novak of Austria 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and five minutes.

“I’m happy to get the win and be through to the second round,” Zverev said on court and will next take on either home favourite Pierre-Hugues Herbert or US-American qualifier Michael Mmoh.

In other action, Austrian qualifier Jurij Rodionov rallied from two sets down to beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, 10-8 in his Grand Slam debut. Both players were broken nine times in the four hour and 36 minutes marathon. It was also the Rodionov’s first win in his seventh career tour-level match. 

US-American qualifier Sebastian Korda defeated Italian veteran Andreas Seppi 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to earn his first career tour level match win. The 20-year-old converted eight of 17 break point chances and hit 34 winners. His father, Petr, also won his first Grand Slam match at Roland Roland in 1988 at the age of 20.

Halep celebrates birthday with win

On the women’s side, No.1 seed and 2018 champion Simona Halep notched her 15th consecutive match-win with a straight-set victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain.

On her 29th birthday, the Romanian celebrated a 6-4, 6-0 victory. “The perfect present was that I won today, of course,” Halep said, during her post-match press conference. “It was a really special day playing on Roland Garros on my birthday. So it’s going to be pretty unique, maybe forever.”

US-American teenager Coco Gauff notched the biggest upset of the opening day, knocking out No.9 seed and 2019 semi-finalist Johanna Konta of Great Britain, 6-3, 6-3.