Thiem faces tough French Open start as Nadal, Serena pursue records

Tanya Simon
September 29, 2020

"I know it's not full, but it's still better than nothing, for sure".

Thiem, 27, captured his maiden Slam title in NY with a breathtaking five-set win over Alexander Zverev earlier this month, the first major final in six years not to feature at least one of the "Big Three". "Probably on clay, a little bit better than on the other surfaces", Thiem said. Playing against an opponent she defeated at the same stage at the US Open less than a month ago, Serena found herself trailing twice in the opening set at the Court Philippe Chatrier but rallied each time to force a tie-breaker.

Gerasimov at times looked like would he would trouble the second seed but with the trainer called out in the third set due to a rolled ankle 6-4, 6-4, 2-2 it was never in doubt that Nadal would get the job done.

The former world number one skipped Rome after sustaining an Achilles injury in her US Open semi-final loss but is confident of making a challenge for a fourth Roland Garros crown.

"I'm really happy to be back at Chatrier", he told a smattering of the 1,000 fans permitted daily at Roland Garros.

US Open champion Dominic Thiem, meanwhile, felt right at home in the cold of the French Open on Monday.

Thiem has finished runner-up to 12-time French Open victor Nadal, 34, at the last two Roland Garros finals.

However a first-time meeting with Egor Gerasimov, the world number 83 from Belarus, is unlikely to trouble him.

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Up next for Williams is US Open quarterfinalist Tsvetana Pironkova. Down the road, Williams rushed through the second set, serving a bagel to compatriot Ahn, hitting just eight unforced errors to complete her 7-6 (2), 6-0 first-round victory.

"The record that he has there, the history of his results, you just can't put anybody in front of him", said Djokovic, himself vying to add to his lone 2016 triumph at Roland Garros.

Fourteenth-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini and 19th-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime both lost in the first round of the French Open. It will be a long match, she weill get a lot of balls back, but so am I. It is also the first top 10 win for the 23-year-old Russian, who is representing Kazakhstan on the tennis circuit.

Eighth seed Gael Monfils, the top Frenchman, lost 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to Alexander Bublik. But I don't know any athlete that ever plays physically when they're feeling flawless.

"I wouldn't be playing if I didn't think I could perform", said Williams, who turned 39 on Saturday.

After a couple of breaks at the opening stage of the deciding set, Giustino earned his first match point at 8-7 (40-30) on return.

The second seed is not pleased the French Open has switched to a new ball supplier and even believes it could pose physical problems for the players. Nevertheless, his match-serving should not go well, as Giustino blasted off one victor and Moutet sent another forehand long on break point to equalize the score again.

Giustino beat Moutet 0-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3), 2-6, 18-16 as the deciding set alone lasted three hours. But he erased one match point with an ace, and the other disappeared when Hurkacz missed a running forehand.

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