Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem Advance While Fourth Seed Daniil Medvedev Loses in First Round of Roland Garros
(September 28, 2020) Serena Williams advanced to the second round of the French Open by beating countrywoman Kristie Ahn 7-6 (2), 6-0 on Monday in Paris on day two of the French Open. It was a back and fourth first set, with Williams coming back from being down 2-4.
“I do think her level dropped a little bit in the beginning of the first set and I took advantage of that. I think her level was so high in the first set that I just needed to lift my level more than what I did.”
“The biggest difference was just confidence,”Williams said after the match. “I just need to play with more confidence, like I’m Serena.
“So that was it. I just started playing like that, and I love the clay and I started playing like it, opening the court and moving and sliding.”
Williams, the sixth seed is in search of her fourth Roland Garros crown, along with a 24th major.
Next up for the American will be a rematch of her most recent US Open quarterfinal against Bulgarian wild card Tsvetana Pironkova.
“She’s playing well, but I am too, ” Williams said of her next opponent. “I’m ready to play her. She’ll be ready to play me. It will be a long match, she will get a lot of balls back, but so am I. I’ll be ready.”
Other seeded women advancing to the second round included No. 3 Elina Svitolina, 2016 winner No. 11 Garbine Muguruza, No. 7 Petra Kvitova, and  Amanda Anisimova.
Defending champion and second seed Rafael Nadal reached the second round of the French Open after beating Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Nadal is seeking his 13th title at Roland Garros and a 20th major overall to tie Roger Federer.
“It is a different Roland Garros. Totally different than we are used to, ” Nadal said after the match. “But for me this year is as special as every one at Roland Garros.”
“I am going to keep trying my best. I am happy to be in the second round, a good start and now is the moment to go back to the hotel, have a good practice tomorrow and try to be ready for the second round.”
Rafa Nadal: “I will not say [#RG20] is important because in the world today, there is things much more important than a tennis tournament. Honestly, that’s my personal feeling. That’s our job & the only thing we can do is say thanks to everyone who makes big efforts to come back”
— Max Gao (@MaxJGao) September 28, 2020
US Open champion Dominic Thiem advanced to the second round of the French Open by beating 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
“I am really happy with my first round. I was facing another great champion today. The transition to the clay and the cold conditions worked out pretty well.”
Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev is now 0-4 at the French Open. The Russian lost to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, ranked 63rd in the world, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-1. It was a career win for the Hungarian, a first victory over a Top Ten player.
No. 8 seed Gael Monfils fell to Alexander Bublik 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. It’s Bublik’s first win over a Top 10 player.
Three-time major champion Angelique Kerber has lost in the first round of the French Open for the second straight year. The 18th seed from Germany lost to 19-year-old Slovenian Kaja Juvan 6-3, 6-3. The 12th seed Madison Keys also lost on Monday to Zhang Shuai.
Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 28th seed also lost on Monday. The 2009 French Open champion fell to Russian countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-1.
Last year’s runner-up Markéta Vondroušová, the 15th seed could not get past the first round falling to Iga Swiatek. No. 22 Karolina Muchova lost to Christina Mchale.
Other upsets on the men’s side of the draw included fourteenth-seeded Fabio Fognini and 19th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime.
American Tennys Sandgren saved a pair of match points to knock out No. 29 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 7-5, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (1), 11-9 in over 4 1/2 hours.
Seven American men have now reached the second round of the French Open, the most in almost 25 years.
Qualifier Lorenzo Giustino took a total of 6 hours, 5 minutes to beat Frenchman Corentin Moutet 0-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3), 2-6, 18-16 over two days in the second-longest match in French Open history.
More to follow…