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What's the best career advice Nick Kyrgios has ever received?
The 30-year-old Cypriot notched his first victory since a quarter-final run last month in Houston (l. to Sock), improving to a 300-223 career mark and 11-8 on the season. In February, he had reached his 13th tour-level final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (l. to Wawrinka).
Baghdatis, a former World No. 8, will look to defeat fellow Australian Open finalist Tsonga for the first time in their seventh FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Tsonga cruised through their lone clay-court clash in Rome in 2011. “I don't want to give him any opportunities. I don't even want him to believe that there's a door that's slightly open,” Tsonga said. “I will be really strong, and we'll see.”
The sixth seed opened with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over German qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff. Tsonga, a two-time semi-finalist at Roland-Garros, won his first-round match in Paris for the eighth time in nine appearances. Earlier this month, Tsonga had to withdraw from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia because of an adductor injury.
“I feel more reassured. That is, now I can play my tennis completely. We had interesting rallies and physically I did what I wanted to do,” Tsonga said.
Another Frenchman, Paul-Henri Mathieu, fought past Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to record his first match win at Roland Garros since a third-round showing in 2012. That year, he recorded back-to-back five-set victories, including an 18-16 fifth set defeat of John Isner in the second round.
The 12th-seeded Goffin broke the Frenchman six times to move on in straight sets. The Belgian, who made the third round in Roland Garros last year, is looking to build on his strong season to date. The 25 year old reached back-to-back semi-finals in Indian Wells and Miami. In Rome earlier this month, he became the first player on tour to beat Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-0.
Novak Djokovic is aiming to complete a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros, but first he’ll have to win seven matches. On Tuesday, he opened his tournament against Yen-Hsun Lu and scored an uncomplicated 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 win.
“Whether or not I'm going to have a chance to fight for a trophy, that's in the Almighty's hands, I can't influence that, but I can certainly give my best and give my all, as always," said Djokovic.
The temperamental conditions in the French capital did not prove problematic for the World No. 1, especially against an opponent who had not played at tour-level since the Australian Open due to elbow surgery. The 2015 runner-up avoided the five-set struggles that defending champion Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray experienced in their openers.
“We aimed to play on Monday, but it didn't happen. But it wasn't a big deal,” Djokovic said. “Weather conditions are not going in the favour of the tournament in the past couple of days. It's been raining a lot. So the courts are a bit heavier and the conditions are quite different. But it's not the first time. It happens quite often in Paris.
“I just needed the time to kind of get myself engaged, used to the new tournament. The second and third sets were really good. I thought I found my rhythm. The first set was up and down. But I'll take the positives out of it, and I'm hoping that I can progress as the tournament goes on."
“It's not the first time this year that I'm experiencing such anticipation and expectations. As a matter of fact, I think it's been three years in a row that I’ve found myself in a very similar situation, where I'm approaching this tournament as one of the favourites,” Djokovic said. “Obviously people wonder if this is the year or not, and I wonder myself.
“But it depends on me how I'm going to use this emotion. So I try to use it as a motivation to inspire myself, to play well, to stay calm and focus only on the present moment.”
Watch highlights as Frenchman Richard Gasquet tops Thomaz Bellucci in the first round of Roland Garros. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com. Photo: Getty Images
Watch highlights as France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga opens his Roland Garros campaign with a straight-sets win over Jan-Lennard Struff. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com. Photo: Getty Images
Watch highlights as Rafael Nadal races past Sam Groth in the first round of Roland Garros. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com. Photo: Getty Images
Watch highlights as Andy Murray completes his first-round comeback over Radek Stepanek in the first round of Roland Garros. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com. Photo: Getty Images
Novak Djokovic's quest for a career Grand Slam began with ease on Tuesday at Roland Garros. The World No. 1 bypassed Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 to stretch his undefeated streak to 12-0 in first-round play in Paris. The Serb broke Lu seven times and hit 34 winners to 22 unforced errors. He also won nearly twice as many points as Lu, 92-55.
“Second and third sets were really good. I thought I found my rhythm. First set was up and down,” Djokovic said. “But I'll take the positives out of it, and I'm hoping I can progress as the tournament goes on.”
In the second round, Djokovic will face Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis, No. 161 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Darcis beat Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. At Wimbledon in 2013, Darcis became the first person to beat Rafael Nadal in the first round of a Grand Slam.
“He's been around the tour for many years. He had a couple of big wins,” Djokovic said. “I haven't seen him play much on clay. I'm going to have to do a little bit of homework there.”
Djokovic has won every Grand Slam except Roland Garros. The right-hander reached the final three times but lost every time, including last year to Stan Wawrinka in four sets. With a title this fortnight, Djokovic would become just the eighth man in history to complete the career Grand Slam.
“It's not the first time that I'm experiencing such anticipation and expectations,” Djokovic said. “I try to use it as a motivation to inspire myself, to play well, to stay calm and focus only on the present moment.”
Lu had pulled off big wins in the past, including beating fifth seed Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2010 and then-World No. 3 David Ferrer in Auckland in 2014. But Lu was playing in just his second event since November. The former World No. 33 underwent right elbow surgery in January. He reached the final at the Seoul Challenger earlier this month (l. to Stakhovsky).
ROLAND GARROS MATCH WINS LEADERS
Eleventh seed David Ferrer got off to a quick start by dispatching Russian Evgeny Donskoy 6-1, 6-2, 6-0. Ferrer won 82 per cent of his first-serve points and erased the only break point he faced during the first-round match. “I'm very happy about this win,” he said.
This is the first year Ferrer is playing at Roland Garros without having won a clay-court title since 2009. The Spaniard, the 2013 runner-up in Paris (l. to Nadal), will face Argentine Juan Monaco, who beat Denis Istomin 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-5. “This year was not as smooth as other years, but these are things that happen,” Ferrer said. “As long as I enjoy playing tennis, as long as I keep being motivated, things are okay.”
Kevin Anderson will not be playing in the second round at Roland Garros for the first time in six years. The 18th seed fell to French wild card Stephane Robert 6-4, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5. The South African was playing in just his seventh tournament of the season, having struggled with shoulder and ankle injuries.
Vea los highlights de Novak Djokovic eliminando a Yen-Hsun Lu en la priemra ronda de Roland Garros. Vídeo cortesía de RolandGarros.com. Foto: Getty Images
After being one set from defeat when play was suspended due to darkness on Monday night, second seed Andy Murray completed the comeback over qualifier Radek Stepanek on Tuesday, defeating the Czech veteran 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.
It is the ninth time in his career that Murray has completed a comeback from two sets down, and the third time he has done so at Roland Garros, having also fought past Richard Gasquet in the 2010 first round and Viktor Troicki in the 2011 fourth round.Comeback Kings
(Most Wins From Two-Sets Down in Open Era) Wins Boris Becker 10 Aaron Krickstein 10 Roger Federer 9 Andy Murray 9 Todd Martin 9 Vitas Gerulaitis 9
"It's unbelievable what he's doing," said Murray in his on-court interview with Cedric Pioline. "He had an extremely bad injury last year and was our for eight or nine months. At 37 years old and coming out and fighting like that, playing that way, is unbelievable. I don't expect to be doing that myself at that age! I'm just glad I managed to get through.
Play was suspended with Murray well on the way with his comeback on Monday evening. After dropping the first two sets, the Scot had upped his intensity and added extra power to his groundstrokes as he reeled off nine straight games to fight his way back into contention.
The pair returned to Court Philippe Chatrier on Tuesday with Murray leading 4-2 in the fourth set. The Scot saved two break points in the opening game, holding for a 5-2 lead, before going to on to clinch the set and force a decider.
Stepanek saved break points in the first and fifth games of the fifth set as Murray struggled to break down the 37-year-old Czech, who continued to frustrate Murray as he had done in the first two sets. Stepanek was two points from victory twice in the 10th game, with Murray serving at 4-5, but the Scot held on and immediately broke Stepanek in the next game as the Czech hit a forehand in the net. Murray double faulted on his first match point, but made no mistake on his second opportunity as Stepanek volleyed into the net.
"It's never easy playing a match over two days," said Murray. "Especially when it ended up being just a one-set shoot-out really in the end, with him always ahead and starting serving. I was having chances and not getting them. Then I was always having to play from behind. So it was very tough.
The 29-year-old Murray came into Roland Garros on the back of his third ATP World Tour clay-court title in Rome, where he defeated Novak Djokovic in the final. The Dunblane native has reached the semi-finals in Paris the past two years.
Seventh seed Tomas Berdych claimed his first win in three meetings with Vasek Pospisil as he dismissed the Canadian 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. The Czech converted eight of his 13 break points and struck 27 winners to just 15 unforced errors.
The 30-year-old Berdych returned to top form in style as he played his first match since suffering the first double bagel of his career against David Goffin in the Rome second round two weeks ago. The Czech has since parted company with coach, Dani Vallverdu.
Berdych enjoyed his best result at Roland Garros six years ago, when he reached the semi-finals (l. to Soderling). The right-hander goes on to face Malez Jaziri, who defeated Florian Mayer 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
In a first-round clash between two of the ATP World Tour’s #NextGen stars, Borna Coric was too good for Taylor Fritz, beating the American 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. The 19-year-old Croat reached the third round at Roland Garros on his debut last year, falling to Jack Sock. Coric next will meet 20th seed Bernard Tomic after the 23-year-old Australian defeated Brian Baker 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
"I knew he played well here before and it was going to be tough," said Tomic of his win over Baker, who is making his comeback on the ATP World Tour this year after being sidelined since the 2013 US Open. "He doesn't give me rhythm. He's attacking a lot.
"For me I knew I had to be on my game and play well. I was happy, very happy. There were times I just didn't feel comfortable on court. I was happy with the win today for sure."
The nine-time champion never faced a break point and breezed past Australian Sam Groth 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in an hour and 20 minutes to move into the second round. The Spaniard lost only five points on his serve (40/45), landed 84 per cent of his first serves and hit 25 winners to three unforced errors.
“It's obvious that it was a good start for me. The most important thing that I had to do today, I did well, which was return. I played without making many mistakes,” Nadal said.
Groth, meanwhile, struggled to get his serve-and-volley game going. The Aussie, who was looking for his first win at Roland Garros and just his second tour-level clay-court match win, donated nine double faults and landed only 58 per cent of his first serves.
Nadal, who won Roland Garros in 2005-08 and 2010-14, is trying to become the first player in the Open Era to win 10 titles at any Grand Slam event. He already is the only man in history to have won five consecutive titles at Roland Garros. The World No. 5 is now 71-2 in Paris.
“It's great to play here in France and in Roland Garros. I feel always the support of the crowd here,” Nadal said. “[This] is the most important place in my career, so to feel the support of the people here is something very special for me... Thank them for that.”
Dominic Thiem matched his best performance at Roland Garros by reaching the second round. Thiem, who defended his title at the Open de Nice Cote d’Azur on Saturday, dismissed Spaniard Inigo Cervantes 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-1.
Thiem, along with Nadal and Pablo Cuevas, are the only players on the ATP World Tour who have won multiple clay-court crowns this year. The 13th seed will play another Spaniard in the second round, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who beat Thiemo de Bakker in four sets.
In a match that started on Monday, John Isner prevailed against Australian John Millman, who was making his Roland Garros debut, 6-7(4), 7-6(12), 7-6(7), 7-5. Isner, the 15th seed, hit 40 aces to advance in a match that originally was scheduled for Sunday. It was Isner's second match since 10 April because of a knee injury. The 6'10” 30 year old lost to Lukas Rosol in Geneva last week.
“It's a big confidence booster for me. I've had a lot of extremely close matches this year and also came into this tournament without much match play at all,” Isner said. “There were some moments in that match that I just went AWOL a bit on my serve. Three times I lost my serve. I played some pretty poor games. I'm up 30-Love, and next thing you know, minute later I lose the game.
“That stuff comes with match toughness, I think. But getting through this one was crucial for me. I'm very happy to be moving on.”
Quentin Halys, another #NextGen player, also advanced to celebrate his first main-draw win at Roland Garros. The 19-year-old Frenchman dismissed fellow #NextGen player Hyeon Chung of South Korea 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. Halys broke Chung five times and lost his serve only once.
“It was great to play against Chung today, and also to have some guys who are better than us. Of course it's great to be a part of the Next Generation on the ATP. It's a good motivation,” Halys said. “I'm working hard every day and it pays off. I didn't expect to play that well on clay so quickly, but I'm working hard. I intend to continue.”
On the eve of Roland Garros, ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot is in Paris to see the stars on the red carpet at the players' party, while Lucas Pouille pits his skills against the RG Robot.
See the latest Emirates ATP Rankings as of 24 May 2016.
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot goes behind the scenes at the picturesque tour stop in Geneva, where Stan Wawrinka was home favourite and top seed.
Watch highlights as French hope Jeremy Chardy beats Leonardo Mayer in four sets on Monday at Roland Garros. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com. Photo: Getty Images
Watch highlights as Stan Wawrinka goes the distance to beat Lukas Rosol in the first round of Roland Garros 2016 on Monday. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com. Photo: Getty Images
Frenchman Jeremy Chardy beats Leonardo Mayer to reach the second round at Roland Garros on Monday. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com.
Defending champion Stan Wawrinka reflects on his first-round win over Lukas Rosol, in which the Swiss had to go the distance on Monday at Roland Garros. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com.
Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic reflect on their good friend and fellow Serbian Novak Djokovic reaching 200 weeks at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Janko Tipsarevic, appearing at Roland Garros for the first time in three years, discusses his return to tour-level following three surgeries. He lost to Milos Raonic in the first round on Monday.