Day 3 recap: No. 6 Bouchard ousted in round one, Kvitova survives scare
PARIS – Catch up on the results and news from Day 3 at the French Open in Paris.
No. 6 Eugenie Bouchard ousted by Kristina Mladenovic: In a result that shouldn't surprise many given Bouchard's recent form, last year's semifinalist lost in the first round of the major for the first time in her career —she was previously 8-0—falling 6–4, 6–4 to Mladenovic. Bouchard came into the match having won just one match in her last six events and has not beaten a top 30 player all season. Mladenovic, ranked No. 44, has a history of being dangerous on home soil. Last year she stunned Li Na in the first round.
There's a good chance Bouchard will drop out of the Top 10 with the loss but not much further. The bigger question is whether she'll be ready for the scrutiny that will come in a few weeks when she returns to Wimbledon as the defending finalist.
"At this point I had no expectations coming in," Bouchard said. "I have no expectations for the foreseeable future. Just going to take it one day at a time and, you know, just try slowly work my way back up."
Rafael Nadal back to his old ways in opening win: The opposition wasn't top-class—Quentin Halys was a 18-year-old French wildcard ranked No. 296—but Nadal looked sharp en route to a 6–3, 6–3, 6–4 win. Bidding to become the first player in the Open Era to win 10 titles at a single major, Nadal extended his record at Roland Garros to 67-1.
"I think he played aggressive," Nadal said. "I think he played well. He played obviously with some mistakes, but when you want to risk on every single ball, then the mistakes are there. The tennis is moving that way. Younger, aggressive. And the tour in general are moving to hit the ball stronger and quicker, going for the winners all the time. So when he wants to play like this and he put the balls in, just I cannot do nothing. But when the point was playing in normal conditions, I think I play well."
Nadal will get a big step up in competition level in the next round as he faces Nicolas Almagro, who beat him last year on clay in Barcelona.
No. 4 Petra Kvitova battles through to the second round: No other surface is as affected by weather conditions as clay. When Kvitova woke up and saw the chilly and overcast day ahead of her she knew she would be fighting against more than just her opponent, Marina Erakovic. Even with her power, Kvitova struggled to hit through the conditions and found herself two games from defeat at 4-4 in the third set. But she was able to get one more break and serve out the match to advance with a 6–4, 3–6, 6–4 win.
"I think it was quite cold and the balls are really heavy, and they didn't really fly," Kvitova said. "For me it was really difficult to go for the shots. It was tough to make any winners or ace from the serve or something like that. It was very difficult today." She plays Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the second round.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic rallies to a straight set win: The top seed followed Nadal on Court Philippe Chatrier and had a far more challenging time against Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen. Djokovic found himself down 1-4 in the second set and Nieminen was up 40-0 as he served for 6-5 lead. But the resilient Serb did what do does: He locked in and found a way back into the set and was able to secure a straight-set 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 win.
Serena Williams shows no signs of nerves in easy win: Heavy conditions? Possible injury? No problem for Serena. The No. 1 looked sharp in a 6–2, 6–3 win over qualifier Andrea Hlavackova. Well, except when she completely misjudged this lob attempt and burst out laughing:
John Isner stops the American bleeding: The day started out with more losses from the Americans, with CoCo Vandeweghe, Taylor Townsend and Tim Smyczek bowing out with just a single set won between them. Leave it to No. 1 American man Isner to step up with a top-quality performance, beating Andreas Seppi—who beat Roger Federer earlier this year at the Australian Open—7–5, 6–2, 6–3. Isner fired 21 aces and broke Seppi six times. This was a top-notch performance from Isner, who has played strong, aggressive tennis through the clay season.
"A lot is said about clay and how it's a defensive surface," Isner said. "It's sort of I would say a misconception. I think clay is a very good attacking surface. A guy like Rafa, yeah, he plays great defense, but knocks the cover off the ball. He is greatest clay-court player of all-time. Me, on top of that, I'm a completely different animal than anyone. My serve is going to play no matter what the surface is and going to keep me in the match. So I'm comfortable on clay."
Isner plays Jeremy Chardy in the second round. Madison Keys also grabbed a win, beating fellow American Vavara Lepchenko 7–6 (3), 6–3.
Jack Sock knocks off No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov: This was an upset on paper but given how these two have played the last two months, it's not all that surprising. Sock thoroughly outplayed an impatient and listless Dimitrov, winning 7–6(7), 6–2, 6–3.
Seeds continue to roll: There have been no major upsets on Tuesday. David Ferrer, Caroline Wozniacki and Marin Cilic all moved through without losing a set. No. 23 Leonardo Mayer needed five sets to beat Jiri Vesely 3–6, 7–6, 6–3, 5–7, 6–2.
Here's a shot of No. 15 Kevin Anderson walking off court after beating Smyczek in straight sets:
Andrea Petkovic shakes off injury to win: A semifinalist last year, Petkovic has struggled with injury since the start of the clay season. Last week she retired in Nuremburg with a leg injury. She admits she's not 100% yet but was very happy pleased to get the late Tuesday start. The extra few days paid off as she beat Shelby Rogers 6–2, 6–1.
"I'm still cautious," Petkovic said. "Also today with Shelby I knew there were not going to be huge rallies, so I was ready for that. The last days in practice my leg was fine for an hour or so and then started cramping up. So I don't know how it's going to go when I play somebody that is not as much of a hard hitter but maybe plays a little more spin, which I will probably have in the second round. Then the rallies will take longer time. So I'm still not putting my expectations too high. I feel like a horse in this thing that wants to run out but I can't because there are—it's blocking me. I feel like I'm playing really, really well, but it's just too dangerous yet to say anything."
Jerzy Janowicz manages to incite the locals: The Pole has never been shy about getting under the skin of his opponents with some of his on-court antics, which meant his first round encounter with a young French wildcard on a small Court 7 was going to be interesting. Janowicz beat Maxime Hamou 6–7, 6–3, 6–4, 6–4 after the French teen took issue with his loud celebration and handshake after the match. Check out the handshake:
"I found it was a little edgy on his part," Hamou said. "There is nothing else I have to say at this point. I think a lot of players know him; I did not know him. I know him now." Janowicz was booed by the partisan crowd as he saluted them after the match. He responded by taking exaggerated royal bows. All in a day's work for Janowicz.
Tweet of the day: Ah, French cuisine.
SNAPSHOTS FROM DAY 3
This post will be updated.