It took two days and overcoming two rain delays, but Kei Nishikori earned his 50th Grand Slam win on Monday at Roland Garros. The fifth seed moved into the second round by fending off Italian veteran Simone Bolelli 6-1, 7-5, 6-3 in a continuation of their match that started on Sunday.
"It wasn't easy today... He started playing little better in the second, but still, I thought it was a great match for me," Nishikori said.
The Japanese erased three of four break points and hit 30 winners to advance in Paris. Nishikori is looking to surpass his career-best showing at Roland Garros, a quarter-finals appearance last year.
The 26 year old has experienced clay-court success, including two titles in Barcelona, but has yet to reach deep into the second week in Paris. The World No. 6 has reached past the second round only twice, last year and in 2013 when he made the fourth round.
"I really feel confident, especially these past three years. I have won Barcelona two times. Couldn't defend this title this year, but I have been beating Top 10 guys on clay," he said. "But on clay, I think the biggest challenge is beating Rafa and Novak and Andy, too. I think that's my next challenge."
Nishikori will face Andrey Kuznetsov in the second round. Kuznetsov, No. 40 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, beat German Benjamin Becker 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday. Nishikori was down 6-4, 3-1 when he retired from his only prior meeting against Kuznetsov, on grass at Eastbourne in 2010.
Home favorite Gilles Simon also moved into the second round, dismissing Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2. The No. 16 seed reaches the second round for the sixth consecutive year. Simon will face Argentine Guido Pella, who beat countryman Diego Schwartzman in four sets.
“I think it was a good match... I played my game. He started very well. I felt right away it would be tough to win the match,” Simon said.
#NextGen player Kyle Edmund earned the second Grand Slam win of his young career. The 21-year-old Brit hit 16 aces to beat Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(4), 6-7(9), 7-5, 6-1. Edmund, whose earlier Grand Slam win came last year at Roland Garros, will face American John Isner or Australian John Millman in the second round. Their match was postponed because of darkness on Monday and is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.
Fernando Verdasco enjoyed more success on clay, winning 7-5, 6-4, 7-5 against American Steve Johnson, who made the third round at Roland Garros last year. Verdasco, who won the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy on clay last month in Bucharest, broke Johnson four times and erased six break points. Verdasco will face Ivan Dodig of Croatia in the second round. The Spaniard leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 2-1, including a win on clay in 2012.
James Duckworth discusses lifting the trophy at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Bangkok. Video courtesy Bangkok Open.
Sleepy Stan Wawrinka awakes just in time
Stephens, Sock spark hope for U.S. on dirt of Paris
Wawrinka and Rosol were facing each other again just four days after they played in the Geneva semi-finals, when the Swiss prevailed before going on to win his first ATP World Tour title on home soil with victory over Marin Cilic in the final.
“Really tough match today,” Wawrinka said. “He was playing really well. He was going for his shot. (He) didn't miss much until he started to get a little bit tired in the fourth set and fifth. But before that I was always under pressure.”
The 30-year-old Rosol is no stranger to pulling off huge Grand Slam upsets, having shocked Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon second round in 2012. He was looking to make Wawrinka the first defending men's singles champion to lose in the first round at Roland Garros, but the Swiss fought back hard to claim victory in three hours and 11 minutes on a cold and wet day in Paris.
“I didn't think about the Rafa match in Wimbledon. It's totally different. I just focused on today,” Rosol said. “It was a tough match. I had a chance in the fourth set, two break points to break his serve and to feel more comfortable on the court after, but I didn't make it.”
The start of play was delayed for more than three hours due to rain. In their third meeting this year, the Czech broke for a 3-2 lead before going on to seal the opener against Wawrinka. Wawrinka looked to be back on track when he raced through the second set to level the match, but Rosol again took an early lead in the third set and did not allow Wawrinka back in contention as he assumed a two-sets-to-one lead.
Wawrinka was denied an early break in the fourth set as Rosol saved four break points to level at 1-1. But the Swiss made a decisive move in the eighth game, breaking before serving out to send the match into a deciding set. Wawrinka carried his momentum into the fifth, breaking in the third game and going on to close out the win.
The 31-year-old Wawrinka won his second Grand Slam championship in Paris last year, when he denied Novak Djokovic the career Grand Slam by beating the Serb in an enthralling display in the final.
Eighth seed Milos Raonic made a strong start to his campaign, dismissing Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(5). The Canadian hit 41 winners and converted four of his 15 break points to defeat Tipsarevic, who was playing just his second tour-level match since the 2015 US Open after being sidelined through foot and knee injuries.
The 25-year-old Raonic was forced to miss Roland Garros last year, needing foot surgery, but the year before had reached the quarter-finals (l. to Djokovic).
“I was happy I was quite efficient on court. I was able to move on and really give myself something to prepare for in the next match and to be better,” said Raonic. “I'm in good shape. I feel physically strong and I have no nagging issues to start the tournament, which is nice.”
Tipsarevic was playing just his fourth tournament back after missing eight months due to right knee patella tendonitis. He had previously missed 18 months due to persistent foot issues that ultimately required two surgeries to remove a benign tumor on his left heel.
“I don’t feel I’m completely fit. This preseason was more about staying pain-free than really focusing on getting 100 per cent ready for the clay-court swing,” said Tipsarevic. “But four months ago I was in a hospital having surgery, so I’m happy with where I am now.”
French favorite Jeremy Chardy also moved into the second round. The 30th seed advanced past Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. The 29 year old will face Czech Republic lucky loser Adam Pavlasek in the second round. Pavlasek beat Spaniard qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.
"When you come here you want to play really well, especially when you're preparing for it,” said Chardy. “I feel great physically. I feel that I'm playing well. I played a pretty robust match today…It was a dangerous match, and I'm happy that I came out this way and full of energy for the next round."
American Jack Sock prevailed in the final set against Robin Haase 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-2. The first-round match was tied at two sets apiece before rain cancelled play on Sunday. Sock, the 23rd seed, made the fourth round at Roland Garros last year. In the second round, the 23 year old will face German Dustin Brown, who outlasted Dudi Sela 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4.
Former World No. 1 Nicolas Kiefer, who reached the 2004 Roland Garros fourth round, provides his views on Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and the fortnight ahead in Paris.
Defending French champ Wawrinka avoids upset
Justin Gimelstob assesses the Roland Garros singles draw and the chances of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal, plus other players who might make an impression.
Kathy May, Taylor Fritz's mother and a former World No. 10, talks about her son's development to the ATP World Tour. Fritz is making his Roland Garros debut this week.
NextGen star Nick Kyrgios reaches the second round at Roland Garros on Sunday with a straight-sets win over Marco Cecchinato. Video courtesy of RolandGarros.com. Photo: Getty Images
Novak Djokovic is today celebrating his 200th week at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Only four players since 1973 have been ranked more weeks at the summit of men's professional tennis, including Jimmy Connors (268), Ivan Lendl (270), Pete Sampras (286) and record-holder Roger Federer (302). Djokovic is also one week shy of 100 consecutive weeks at No. 1.
ALL-TIME WEEKS AT NO. 1No. 1 Player Total Weeks Longest Streak Roger Federer 302 237 weeks Pete Sampras 286 102 weeks Ivan Lendl 270 157 weeks Jimmy Connors 268 160 weeks Novak Djokovic 200 99 weeks
MOVING UP THE NO. 1 LADDER - If Djokovic remains at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, he will pass Connors on 11 September 2017 and move to No. 4 in the all-time list for most weeks spent at No. 1.No. 1 Player Total Weeks Target Date Roger Federer 302 7 May 2018 Pete Sampras 286 15 January 2018 Ivan Lendl 270 25 September 2017 Jimmy Connors 268 11 September 2017
Djokovic the competitor is relentless, constantly seeking improvement. There is no false sense of security, that he can raise his game when needed against his closest rivals. The 29-year-old Serbian knows he's a target, thrives on it and works hard with his coaches, Boris Becker and Marian Vajda, in order to consistently perform at the highest level.
Since he began his third stint at the top of men's professional tennis on 7 July 2014, Djokovic has suffered only 13 losses, including seven against Top 10 foe - Roger Federer (4), Andy Murray (2) and Stan Wawrinka (1). Through his own superb conditioning; his ability to focus on every point and his wide arsenal of shots, he has forced other players to change their games.
Djokovic's self discipline, dedication, devotion and passion for the sport have seen him capture 19 titles from 24 finals (four Grand Slams and 10 ATP World Tour Masters 1000s) since 7 July 2014.
DJOKOVIC AT NO. 1 - Take a closer look at Djokovic's match wins, Top 10 and finals record during his three stints at No. 1.Stints At No. 1 W-L Record vs. Top 10 Finals Record 4 July 2011-8 July 2012 63-12 (.840) 18-9 (.667) 4-4 5 November 2012-6 October 2013 62-9 (.873) 18-6 (.750) 5-2 7 July 2014-present 143-13 (.917) 56-7 (.889) 19-5
Today, Djokovic has 16,150 Emirates ATP Rankings points - 7,715 points ahead of No. 2-ranked Murray - and looks set to finish as the year-end No. 1 for the fifth time in the past six years. With 64 titles, including 11 Grand Slam championships, his place among the all-time greats is already assured.
AT 200 WEEKS AT NO. 1... - Look at the ages and records of Federer, Sampras, Lendl, Connors and Djokovic in their 200th week at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.No. 1 Player Date Achieved Age W-L Record Titles Roger Federer 3 December 2007 26 years, 117 days 551-134 (.804) 53 (12 majors) Pete Sampras 24 November 1997 26 years, 104 days 557-150 (.788) 52 (10 majors) Ivan Lendl 3 April 1989 29 years, 27 days 563-98 (.852) 76 (7 majors) Jimmy Connors 26 June 1978 25 years, 297 days 544-88 (.861) 66 (4 majors) Novak Djokovic 23 May 2016 29 years, 1 day 723-149 (.829) 64 (11 majors)
Statistical assistance by Joshua Rey and Graham Edgar
Adam Pavlasek, a lucky loser in the Roland Garros draw, reflects on beating Roberto Carballes Baena on Monday for his first Grand Slam match win.
Grand Slam glory isn't the only prize on the line for doubles players at Roland Garros. Five men are in contention to reach the pinnacle of the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, with World No. 1 on the line for Marcelo Melo, Nicolas Mahut, Jamie Murray, Horia Tecau and Bob Bryan.
Melo, the current No. 1 and reigning Roland Garros champion with Ivan Dodig, and Bob Bryan, a two-time winner in Paris (2003 & '13) with brother Mike, must lift the trophy for a chance at the top spot. Murray, who spent five weeks at No. 1 earlier this year, claimed his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January (w/Soares). Tecau and home hope Mahut, meanwhile, are bidding to become the 49th different World No. 1 since the doubles rankings began in 1976.
No. 1 Doubles Scenarios
Defending champions Dodig and Melo are bidding for their first tour-level crown of the season. Seeded third, they find themselves is a tricky quarter of the draw, with No. 6 seeds and Mutua Madrid Open runners-up Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea, 11th seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers and 13th seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Kontinen and Peers are coming off a title run in Munich a month ago, while the Colombian power of Cabal/Farah lifted their third trophy of the season on Saturday in Nice.
Three years ago, Mahut came up just short of achieving glory at his home Grand Slam, falling in a deciding tie-break in the Roland Garros doubles final with Michael Llodra. Now, with partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert, the French duo enter the 2016 edition of the clay-court major as the players to beat. The top seeds open against Sam Groth and Bernard Tomic in their quest for a second Grand Slam crown. The 2015 US Open titlists could face seventh seeds Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock in a blockbuster quarter-final. They are hoping to become the second French duo to lift the Coupe Jacques Brugnon in three years, after Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin prevailed in 2014. Benneteau and Roger-Vasselin received a wild card this year, with Pospisil/Sock looming as potential second-round opponents.
Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor own the most Roland Garros doubles titles in the Open Era, with four apiece. Champion in 2005-06 (w/Bjorkman) and 2011-12 (w/Nestor), Mirnyi is seeded 10th this year alongside Treat Huey. The Belarusian-Filipino tandem open against Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi. Nestor, the titlist in 2007 (w/Knowles), '10 (w/Zimonjic) and '11-12 (w/Mirnyi), is teaming with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. They could face second seeds and reigning Barclays ATP World Tour Finals champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in the third round.
Other former Roland Garros doubles champions in the draw are the Bryans (2003, '13), Nenad Zimonjic (2010) and Leander Paes (1999, '01, '09). All are in the same quarter, with 16-time Grand Slam champions the Bryan brothers entering on the heels of title runs in Barcelona and Rome. Zimonjic is partnering with Radek Stepanek, while Paes is joining forces with Marcin Matkowski. Also in the loaded quarter of the draw are Australian Open titlists and fourth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. A blockbuster second-round match-up could feature Stepanek and Zimonjic squaring off against the #NextGen duo of Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev.
In the past 10 Grand Slam tournaments, there have been 10 different teams and 20 different players win a title. The doubles competition gets underway on Tuesday.
A LOOK BACK
Venice Challenge Save Cup (Mestre, Italy): No. 4 seed Gastao Elias of Portugal continued his outstanding form in 2016 by prevailing over No. 3 seed Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, 7-6(0), 6-2 in Sunday's Mestre final. This was the fourth ATP Challenger Tour final this year between Top 100 players, compared to six for the entire 2015 season. Elias also prevailed in Italy last month at the $50,000 event in Turin, which allowed him to crack the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time in his career. He has now won 11 of his last 12 ATP Challenger Tour matches.
Multiple Title Winners In 2016
Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago
Mendoza, Bucaramanga, Morelos Mikhail Youzhny
Bangkok I, Bangkok II, Manila
Drummondville, Taipei City
Guadalajara, Le Gosier
Zeballos broke through this week by reaching his first ATP Challenger Tour final of the year, snapping a five match losing streak in semi-finals that dates back to last October.
KPN Renewables Bangkok Open (Bangkok, Thailand): No. 8 seed James Duckworth picked up his first ATP Challenger Tour title of the year by defeating qualifier Sam Barry of Ireland, 7-6(5), 6-4. Playing in his first Challenger since January due to an elbow injury, Duckworth showed resilience throughout the week by rallying from a set down in three of his matches to get to the final. This is the third ATP Challenger Tour title of the 24-year-old’s career, with his last coming in November 2014 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Aussies are also now 4-0 this year in Challenger finals, with Jordan Thompson and Blake Mott also lifting trophies.
Despite the loss, the week was a positive for Barry in reaching his first ATP Challenger Tour final. The 24-year-old had only won two main draw matches at the Challenger level prior to his run in Bangkok.
A LOOK AHEAD
The lone tournament on the calendar this week is the $50,000 event in Vicenza, Italy. Elias will look for his third ATP Challenger Tour title of the year as the No. 1 seed, while Daniel Brands of Germany is the No. 2 seed. Other notable names in the draw include #NextGen star Andrey Rublev of Russia, rising American teenager Stefan Kozlov and former Top 50 player Andrey Golubev, a winner earlier this year in Jonkoping, Sweden.
ATP CHALLENGER TOUR ON TWITTER: New in 2016, the ATP Challenger Tour has launched a dedicated Twitter account for the latest news and information about players and events. Follow @ATPChallengerTour at twitter.com/ATPChallengerTour.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is enjoying a stretch of significant milestones. The Serb is poised to begin his 200th week atop the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, with his quest for a maiden Roland Garros title commencing a day later.
But first, a birthday celebration was in order for the 29 year old. On Sunday, Djokovic was presented with a cake by tournament director Guy Forget and was given a special birthday message from his No. 1 fan, Micaela Bryan, daughter of Bob Bryan.
.@DjokerNole Happy Birthday from your biggest fan, me!
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | As the forecast improved, so too did the fortunes of the game's biggest names; catch up with the hits and misses from Day 2 at Roland Garros.
Simona Halep made a confident start to her French Open challenge, swatting aside World No.70 Nao Hibino in 45 minutes.
No.2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska flew into the second round of Roland Garros, setting up an encounter with a streaking hometown favorite in Caroline Garcia.
No.4 seed Garbiñe Muguruza overcame a slow start against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova to book her place in the second round of the French Open.
No.4 seed Garbiñe Muguruza overcame a slow start against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova to book her place in the second round of the French Open.