Day 1 of this year’s French Open started off with a bang–an upset loss of #4 seed Dominic Thiem. Miss any of the rest of the men’s action? We recap all of it for you.
French Open Men’s Day 1 Recap
On the Plus Side
Stefanos Tsitsipas began his quest for a maiden Grand Slam title by easily dispatching veteran Jeremy Chardy in straight sets, getting broken only once in the entire match. It was the kind of quick and comfortable early round match the Greek needs if he wants a chance to truly challenge in the later rounds.
35-year-old Pablo Andujar won a match at Roland Garros for the first time in six years. The Spaniard came back from two sets down against the reigning US Open champion and two-time Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem. As much as Thiem has been struggling, it’s still an incredible win for the veteran Spaniard. No one really expected him to get a moment in the sun like this at this stage of his career.
Karen Khachanov has been struggling a lot ever since capturing his maiden Masters 1000 title in Paris 2018. His Slam performances have been very disappointing, but this time at least he’s off to a strong start, dropping only six games to a potentially dangerous Jiri Vesely to book a 2nd round encounter with Kei Nishikori, who defeated the Russian in Madrid recently.
Who Looked Bad:
Grigor Dimitrov was leading his match against Marcos Giron 6-2 6-4 5-1 40-0… and he lost nine games in a row before retiring. More than the performance itself, it’s the fact that his body failed him completely, just like at the Australian Open a few months ago. This really raises concern about Dimitrov’s future in the sport.
Kei Nishikori is now a spectacular 24-7 in 5-set matches and remains the king of deciding sets, but struggling so much to win a match he was heavily favored in doesn’t bode well for his chances of a deep run here in Paris. Nishikori ultimately came through, but if he doesn’t clean up his game his stay in Paris won’t be very long, especially not with Karen Khachanov waiting in the next round.
Ultimately though, Dominic Thiem was the biggest disappointment of the day. Despite his poor form following the US Open title last year, Thiem’s record at this tournament is incredible, Only Nadal got the better of him from 2017 to 2019, until Diego Schwartzman beat him in an epic five-setter last year, where post-US Open fatigue/hangover might have affected Thiem. The Austrian was expected to raise his game for this tournament but it wasn’t to be; he still won the first two sets, but a litany of unforced errors allowed the 35-year-o;d Spaniard to earn this stunning victory and eliminate one of the tournament’s favorites.
Match of the Day:
It has to be the epic battle between Andujarand Thiem. It was an old fashioned clay court battle, with one long rally after another, full of twists and turns. After four hours and 29 minutes of battle, it was, against all odds, the 35-year-old Spaniard who emerged victorious in one of the most significant Grand Slam upsets of recent times. A richly deserved victory in a very intense, high quality match.
Main Photo from Getty.