Carlos Alcaraz, Andrey Rublev win openers at French Open

League: Tennis

Posted on: 26 May, 2024 at 11:58 PM

Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain led a quartet of men among the world's top 10 into the second round of the French Open amid blustery conditions in Paris on Sunday.

On the clay courts at Roland Garros, the third-seeded Alcaraz made quick work of J.J. Wolf in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 win.

Alcaraz, dealing with an arm injury, isn't in peak form. But he was good enough in the one-hour, 53-minute match to manage five aces, convert nine of 14 break chances and hit 27 winners to 20 unforced errors.

Wolf cashed in on only two of seven break opportunities and had just 10 winners compared to 25 unforced errors.

"I'm really happy to be back, to be back here in Paris, to be back competing again," Alcaraz said on court, after the match. "It's been a really difficult month for me. I love competing, I love playing tennis, and to stay away from that was hurtful for me. I tried everything I could do to be at my 100 percent here in Paris, to show my best tennis, and I think I did it today."

In a more challenging match, Russia's Andrey Rublev, the sixth seed, rebounded from a second-set downturn to defeat Taro Daniel of Japan 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-5 in three hours, 11 minutes.

"It was a tough match, and he is a tough player," Rublev said. "He knows how to play on clay, and we have played a lot of matches against each other, so we know each other very well. The conditions were not easy to play, with the wind and everything, but in the end, we played a great match."

Rublev won points on 89.2 percent (58 of 65) of his first serves. He is looking for his first Grand Slam title. He's advanced as far as the quarterfinals twice at Roland Garros.

"I feel a bit relieved that the match was over in four sets, but still I had a feeling during the match that I had not lost my serve, which also was giving me some confidence," he said.

The No. 10 seed, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, advanced with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Aleksandar Kovcevic of the United States.

Roland Garros hasn't been overly kind to Dimitrov through the years -- he reached the fourth round for only the second time out of 13 French Opens in 2023 -- but he controlled the match behind 35 winners and 16 unforced errors.

Eighth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland had to endure a suspension of play due to rain before closing out a comeback, five-set win against qualifier Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan. After Mochizuki went up two sets to one, Hurkacz stormed through the fourth set in 21 minutes to tie the match before prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.

The biggest upset of the early section of the first round came when 17th-seeded Ugo Humbert lost before his home fans as the Frenchman fell 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Italy's Lorenzo Sonego.

Sonego eliminated Humbert at the French Open in 2023 as well.

Later Sunday, France's Corentin Moutet upset No. 16 seed Nicolas Jarry of Chile 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0. Jarry had reached the final of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome earlier this month.

Another seeded Chilean, No. 24 Alejandro Tabilo, also fell as Belgian qualifier Zizou Bers defeated him 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-2. No. 27 seed Sebastian Korda swept French wild card Harold Mayot 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

In a matchup of veterans with a combined six Grand Slam titles, 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland swept Andy Murray of Great Britain 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

"It was emotional, for sure. We're getting closer to the end, and we played so many times over the past 20 years," Wawrinka said. "... He's (an) amazing guy, amazing player, such a big fighter. We have a lot of respect for each other."

Germany's Daniel Altmaier needed five hours and four minutes to defeat Serbia's Laslo Djere, with the fifth set requiring a first-to-10 tiebreaker. Altmaier hit 11 total aces and prevailed 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (8), 5-7, 7-6 (6).

Other winners Sunday were Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Alexandre Muller, Spain's Pedro Martinez, Zhizhen Zhang of China, Californian Brandon Nakashima, Jesper De Jong of the Netherlands, Maximilian Marterer of Germany, Hungarian Fabian Marozsan, Kei Nishikori of Japan and Sebastian Ofner of Austria.

--Field Level Media