Sports Desk, May 22 (EFE).- The opening matches of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris got under way on Sunday without any of the pandemic restrictions that curtailed attendance at the Grand Slam tennis tourney over the past two years.
In the most highly anticipated men’s match of the day, Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz romped to a thrilling 6-4, 6-2 and 6-0 victory over Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero in an hour and 50 minutes.
The No. 6-ranked player in the world at age 19, who has emerged as one of the sensations of the season after his wins in Miami and Madrid, along with Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona, will now go up against his countryman Albert Ramos in the second round.
“It’s something unique, it’s a Grand Slam. This stadium I consider to be one of the best. And this tourney is one of the first I saw starting when I was little. It’s a pleasure to play great matches here,” said Alcaraz after his win, the day’s last match.
He added that it took him a little while to adapt to the court, but during the match he was able to gauge the distances on the court and gave his “thanks to the public, who helped me to adapt.”
The young phenom was focused right from the start, playing solid tennis and barely conceding anything to his rival who, playing textbook tennis, tried in vain to contain the whirlwind.
Earlier in the day, Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien knocked out two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 result in 2 hours and 1 minute on Sunday, with the latter trying to make a comeback after injuring his right wrist but the defeat bringing his losing streak to 10 matches Dellien, ranked No. 87 and making his third appearance at the Paris tourney, had come into this second Grand Slam match of the year with just two wins in nine outings at Grand Slam events. He had been knocked out by Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round in 2019.
Thiem, 28, who is zero for six this year, won the US Open two years ago and came in second in three other major tourneys, losing to Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the 2018 and 2019 French Open finals and to Novak Djokovic in the 2020 Australian Open final.
Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich told EFE that he’s leaving Roland Garros very disappointed with himself after being eliminated in the first round by The Netherlands’ Tallon Griekspoor 2-6, 6-0, 6-4 and 6-3 in 2 hours and 16 minutes.
However, he denied that the physical problems he suffered during the match were the cause of his defeat, saying that he came into the fray with a lot of confidence and a good game – as he showed by taking the first set – but then his energy simply flagged After reaching the quarterfinal round last year, and this year reaching the final at Montecarlo, the No. 25-ranked Davidovich felt he had a good chance in Paris, but – after his defeat – he said that “It’s better to lose in the first round than the third.”
Argentina’s No. 15-seeded Diego Schwartzman, in his eighth appearance at Roland Garros, defeated Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 and 6-2 in 2 hours 41 minutes.
The second set was briefly interrupted by rain, and the Argentine was crushed in that set but he recovered against a tough rival who was returning after overcoming a series of injuries and who had defeated him on clay in Bastad, Sweden, in 2017.
In the second round, he will face off against Spain’s Jaume Munar, who defeated Germany’s Daniel Altmaier 6-1, 6-3, 4-6 and 6-3 on Sunday.
Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas, No. 122, initially put Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime on the ropes in the first round, coming out like a hurricane and winning the first two sets before his No. 9 rival recovered himself and cruised into the second round 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 and 6-3 in 3 hours and 14 minutes.
“It was a great game,” said Varillas after the match, “those first two sets were high-level tennis. Then, (Auger-Aliassime’s) experience … took over, he’s No. 9 in the world, and I wet down … because I’m not accustomed to playing this kind of match.”
Meanwhile, Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, 36, beat America’s No. 31 Jenson Brooksby 6-2, 6-2 and 6-2 in 1 hour and 32 minutes and will face off in the second round against Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, who downed Australia’s Christopher O’Connell 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(5) and 6-1.
Djokovic, last year’s men’s champ, and Nadal are scheduled to compete in their first-round matches on Monday, along with women’s No. 1-ranked Iga Swiatek, who has won her last 28 matches.