Tennis top seed Andy Murray up and running after blip
French Open champion pretender Alexander Zverev crashes out in the first round
Paris — Top seed Andy Murray overcame a second-set blip to beat Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-0 in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday.
Murray, who has had an underwhelming year so far and was struck down by illness last week, hit 29 winners and was helped out by Kuznetsov making 45 unforced errors.
The Briton next faces Slovakia’s Martin Klizan, who beat Laurent Lokoli of France.
Alexander Zverev, the man seen as a potential French Open champion, crashed out in the first round while Johanna Konta became the second top 10 women’s player to exit.
Zverev, just 20 and fresh from his sensational Rome Masters demolition of Novak Djokovic, slumped to a 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2 defeat to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.
"I played absolute rubbish, that’s why I lost," said Zverev. "But life goes on, it’s not a tragedy. In Rome I played fantastic, I won the tournament. Here I played bad. That’s the way it goes."
The beanpole German committed 50 unforced errors and drew jeers from the Philippe Chatrier court crowd when he took out his frustration by hammering his racquet into the clay.
Left-handed Verdasco, playing his 14th Roland Garros and 56th consecutive Major, had lost to Zverev in the first round on clay in Madrid earlier this year.
But he is an experienced Grand Slam competitor, making the last 16 in Paris on four occasions.
Third seed and 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka was an easy winner, defeating Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-2 7-6 (8/6) 6-3.
Wawrinka saved two set points in the second set tiebreaker before going on to down the qualifier.
Juan Martin del Potro marked his return after an absence of five years by defeating Argentine compatriot Guido Pella 6-2 6-1 6-4.
Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei, the world No109, stunned seventh seed Konta 1-6 7-6 (7/2) 6-4.
Konta is the second top 10 woman to lose in the first three days after world No1 Angelique Kerber was also dumped out in the first round.
"I tried very hard and gave myself a big chance. Every time I tried to run as fast as I can and get the ball back," said Hsieh, who won for just the second time in seven trips to Roland Garros. Konta has yet to win one match in the main draw in three attempts.
There were no such problems for fifth-seeded Rome champion Elina Svitolina as the 2015 quarterfinalist defeated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-4 6-3.
SA’s Kevin Anderson beat Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 7-6(4) 6-3 7-6(4) to set up a second-round clash with Australia’s 18th seed Nick Kyrgios.