Rafael Nadal ousted in straight sets at Roland Garros

League: Tennis

Posted on: 28 May, 2024 at 12:05 AM

Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

German Alexander Zverev defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets at the French Open on Monday, ending what could be the Spaniard's final career appearance at Roland Garros.

Zverev, the fourth seed, defeated the 14-time French champion 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in Paris to advance to the second round.

"To be honest, I don't know what to say. First of all, thank you Rafa from all of the tennis world. It's such a great honor," Zverev said in his on-court interview. "I've watched Rafa play all my childhood and I was lucky enough to play Rafa when I became a professional. I was lucky enough to play him two times on this beautiful court.

"I don't know what to say. Today is not my moment, it's Rafa's moment, so thank you."

Zverev becomes just the third player to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros, joining Novak Djokovic (twice) and Robin Soderling. Nadal, who fell to 112-4 on the clay in France, owns 22 Grand Slam titles but missed last year's French Open dealing with injuries.

"It's difficult for me to talk. I don't know if it's going to be the last time that I'm going to be here in front of all of you, honestly," Nadal said. "I am not 100 percent sure, but if it's the last time, I enjoyed it.

"The crowd has been amazing during the whole week of preparation and the feelings that I have today are difficult to describe in words. But for me, it's so special to feel the love of the people the way that I felt in the place that I love the most."

In other action Monday, No. 2 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy defeated Christopher Eubanks 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, while No. 5 Daniil Medvedev of Russia outlasted Germany's Dominik Koepfer 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Ninth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece advanced in straight sets over Hungary's Marton Fucsovics, 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-1.

A trio of seeded Americans opened with victories. No. 14 Tommy Paul swept Argentina's Pedro Cachin 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, while No. 25 Frances Tiafoe was down a set before beating Italy's Mattia Bellucci 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4. No. 15 Ben Shelton dropped the opening set to fan favorite Hugo Gaston of France before prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

"I love these moments. I enjoy these atmospheres," Shelton said. "I got a lot of heckling when I was in college tennis, but today the crowd was just loud, chanting, supporting their countryman. It's something that you love to see. There was a lot of positive out there."

No. 18 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia, No. 21 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo and No. 30 Lorenzo Musetti of Italy all advanced in straight sets.

No. 20 seed Sebastian Baez of Argentina survived a five-set challenge from Brazilian qualifier Gustavo Heide and won 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, but two other seeded players weren't as fortunate. Matteo Arnaldi of Italy upset No. 29 Arthur Fils of France 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, and Russian Pavel Kotov took down No. 32 Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

German qualifier Henri Squire beat Australia's Max Purcell 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (10) to advance.

Other first-round winners included South Korea's Soonwoo Kwon, Slovakia's Jozef Kovalik, Kazakhstan's Alexander Shevchenko, Italy's Fabio Fognini, Austrian qualifier Filip Misolic, Frenchman Gael Monfils, Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Serbians Miomir Kecmanovic and Dusan Lajovic.

--Field Level Media