Murray survives, Nadal cruises and Kerber loses on French Open Day 3
A recap of the action on Day 3 on Tuesday at the French Open in Paris, including results, tweets, hot shots, photos and more.
• No. 3-seed Angelique Kerber became the first top five seed to fall and the fifth Australian Open champion in the Open Era to lose in the first round at Roland Garros on Tuesday when she was beaten by Kiki Bertens 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Kerber withdrew from Nuremburg last week with a shoulder injury, and said the injury began to bother her again during her second set, but also gave the No. 58-ranked Bertens credit after the match.
“I came here to play round by round, and I know that you must play your best tennis in the first rounds, as well, because everybody is a tough opponent to play,” Kerber said. “I was trying it. It was not my day. I tried to fight also in the third set. She played good then in the important moments.”
• The No. 1 seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams had no trouble with their first round opponents on Tuesday. Djokovic comfortably beat Yen-Hsun Lu on Philippe-Chatrier Court 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. He'll play Belgian Steve Darcis in the second round and after the match, assessed his opponent, nicknamed The Shark.
"Generally, I think he prefers playing on quicker surfaces, because he's very talented, has very quick hands, very good slice, you know, good serve," Djokovic said. "I haven't seen him play much on clay. Gonna have to do a little bit of homework there, and then hoping I can prepare myself well."
Later in the day, Serena took the court to begin her title defense and quickly defeated a shaky Magdalena Rybarikova 6–2, 6–0 in just 42 minutes. After the match, Serena addressed the cooler weather in Paris and her current fitness and health level, after battling through a cold during the tournament last year.
"I'm not a cold-weather person. It's been really tough. It was warmer, I think, a couple matches before, but by the time I got out there, it was just really cold....But everything felt pretty good, so it was okay," she said. "This year I feel good so far. Last year this time I felt good, too. I'm just really, really loading up the Vitamin Cs and water so I can hopefully stay healthy."
• In the first round battle of the next generation of ATP stars, 19-year-old Borna Coric defeated 18-year-old American Taylor Fritz in straights, winning 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. Coric will face No. 20-seed Bernard Tomic, who defeated Brian Baker 6–3, 6–4, 6–4 in the first round.
“I play a player that loves playing on clay. He's going to stay in the point a lot. That's where I have to obviously play well,” Tomic said of his second-round opponent Coric. “I've beat him before on hard court in Indian Wells, but clay is a different surface. He prefers to play me on this surface for sure. On paper it looks like I should win the match, but it's a very difficult match because he does play very well on clay.”
• After two days, five sets and three hours and 41 minutes, No. 2-seed Andy Murray finally prevailed over 37-year-old Radek Stepanek. And after getting double-bageled by David Goffin last week at the Rome Masters, No. 7-seed Tomas Berdych seemed to find his game again, notching his first career win over Canadian Vasek Pospisil, 6-3 6-2 6-1.
• Baguettes for everyone on Lenglen! Nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal dropped just three games en route to a 6–1, 6–1, 6–1 victory over Australian Sam Groth.
"It's great to play here in France and in Roland Garros. I feel always the support of the crowd here...Because is the most important place in my career, so to feel the support of the people here is something very special for me," Nadal said after the match. "I'm not tired. Life is great. Everything is well. I played all the clay court season whether it's a long match or a short match. It doesn't change anything for the future. Today I won, but it doesn't mean that I will win the next match."
• No. 9-seed Venus Williams topped Anett Kontaveit 7-6(5), 7-6(4) and will next face American Louisa Chirico, who beat Lauren Davis 6-2, 2-6, 8-6. The all-American match-up should be an intriguing one, as Chirico is coming off a strong run in Madrid, where she lost in the semifinals to Dominika Cibulkova.
• No. 29-seed Madison Keys advanced to the second round with a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 win over Donna Vekic and No. 29 Daria Kasatkina beat Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. But another Russian player, Daria Gavrilova, was unable to win her opening match in Paris, losing to Mariana Duque-Mariño 7–5, 4-6, 4–6.
• Down 4–0 in the third set to Italian Karin Knapp, Victoria Azarenka retired from her first-round match due to a knee injury. After dropping the first set 6–3, Azarenka tweaked her right knee midway through the second, limped to her chair and took a long medical timeout before returning to the match. Though she was visibly struggling with the injury, Azarenka kept fighting and won all three of her break points in the second set to force a tiebreak, and then a third set.
She received a code violation for this racket smash during a changeover in the match.
• Francesca Schiavone may have lost to Kiki Mladenovic 6–2, 6–4 in the opening round on Tuesday, but the 35-year-old is not done yet. After the match, the Italian vet set the record straight about any retirement rumors: “So Roland Garros announced my retirement, but I didn't. So you can stand up all of you and go back to work in the office because I didn't say that. I will announce when I will want to stop…. It was not the last one for me.”
• Eugenie Bouchard dispatched of Laura Siegemund on Tuesday, winning 6-2, 6-2 to avoid an early exit. The 2014 Wimbledon finalist recorded seven first-round exits in 2015, including at the French Open and Wimbledon. After the match, Bouchard addressed her struggles on and off the court, specifically her battle with nerves and weight loss.
“I felt a lot of pressure and kind of this expectation if you win a match it's normal and if you lose it's a disaster. Before matches I was very nervous and definitely had trouble eating. I just felt like it would come right back up. ...And not just before matches, but happened to me at other meals as well,” she said. “So people think I was concerned about my body image and things like that and I was losing weight on purpose. That was really not the case. I was just so stressed I was burning calories even more than I normally would, so it was hard to kind of intake enough to keep my weight up or even gain weight, which was the goal, to become stronger.
“I feel like I learned from it. I know now that even if I feel sick I have to force food down my throat. I feel like I've come out stronger and able to deal with a problem if it ever comes back to me again.”
Bouchard’s next opponent is No. 8-seed Timea Bacsinzky, who beat Silvia Soler Espinosa in straight sets on Tuesday.
• 2008 Roland Garros champion and No. 14-seed Ana Ivanovic beat Oceane Dodin 6–0, 5–7, 6–2 to advance to the next round, where she’ll play Kurumi Nara, who defeated Denisa Allertova after she was was forced to retire in the third set with abdominal muscle pain.
• More notable results: Taylor Townsend d. Amandine Hesse 6-2, 6-1; Tatjana Maria d. Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; Lucas Pouille d. Julien Benneteau 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4); Alize Cornet d. Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0; Dominic Thiem d. Inigo Cervantes 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-1; John Isner d. John Millman 6-7(4), 7-6(12), 7-6(7), 7-5; Timea Babos d. Samantha Crawford 6-4, 6-0; Carla Suarez Navarro d. Katerina Siniakova 6-2, 4-6, 6-2; Quentin Halys d. Hyeon Chung 6-1, 6-4, 6-4; Dominika Cibulkova d. Saisai Zheng 6-3, 6-1; Feliciano Lopez d. Thomas Fabbiano 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2; Victor Estrella Burgos d. Illya Marchenko 7-5, 6-4, 6-3; Camila Giorgi d. Alize Lim 6-3, 6-2
Hot shots of the Day
Tweets of the Day
Nadal needed all of 80m to beat Sam Groth. Murray needed 85 to finally put away Stepanek....— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) May 24, 2016
Quote of the Day
In her post-match press conference, Bouchard brought up the Toronto Raptors, who just won Game 4 to tie the NBA Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland Cavaliers at 2-2.
BOUCHARD: How about them Raps? Can we talk about that? (Laughter.)
Q. We could actually. Yeah, go ahead. And then I'll ask you something else. Talk about that. I am surprised they've hung around.
BOUCHARD: You're surprised?
Q. Yeah, I am.
BOUCHARD: I'm not. Well, I can't watch it live, which sucks, but as soon as I wake up it's like the first thing I Google every morning. I watched the three-minute highlights on the way to the courts this morning.
Just good. Impressive. The atmosphere seemed amazing over there. I don't know. Kyle Lowry showed up, so it was good. I don't know what's going to happen though. It will be very interesting to see, because Cleveland is undefeated at home, but the Raptors have this momentum.
So it's exciting.
Q. She really does just want to ask herself questions. This is good.
BOUCHARD: Yeah, I will just talk to myself.
Berdych, Kerber, Lucas Pouille and Ana Ivanovic all debuted their 2016 French Open kits from adidas on Tuesday. The brand’s design team says the pattern was inspired by the “dazzle camouflage” from the 1940s and 1950s.
The Day in Photos
Daily Data Viz
Each day, SI and IBM will bring you data-driven infographics based on the top storylines and stats from Roland Garros. Click the image to view the graphic.
Rafael Nadal is the undisputed “King of Clay” and not just because of his nine career titles at Roland Garros.
This post will be updated.