French Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Chardy to reach second round


Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame a sluggish start to reach the second round of the French Open with a 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-1 victory over France’s Jeremy Chardy on Sunday (May 30). The fifth seed, who extended his winning run on clay to five matches after clinching the title in Lyon last week, was in trouble in the opening set in an empty court Philippe Chatrier after spectators were sent home under a 9 p.m. local time curfew before making his superiority count.

Tsitsipas, who lost to 13-times Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal in the final in Barcelona, steamrolled past a helpless Chardy in the other two sets. He ended Chardy’s challenge after just over two hours with a forehand winner for a no-nonsense victory.

He will next face either American Sebastian Korda or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.

Alexander Zverev turns around two-set deficit against qualifier Otte

Sixth seed Alexander Zverev rallied from two sets down to beat qualifier Oscar Otte 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 in his opening round of the French Open. The 24-year-old seemed to be heading for an early exit like Austrian Dominic Thiem, who beat him in the 2020 US Open final, when he lost the first two sets on the Suzanne Lenglen Court but he found a different gear to turn around the contest.

For the rest of the match, it was one-way traffic against the 152nd-ranked Otte in the first meeting between the two Germans as Zverev’s movement on the red clay improved and he found more power in his shots and more sting in his serves. “It’s the first time I played Oscar so I didn`t know what to expect much but he didn’t give me any rhythm,” Zverev said in his on-court interview.

“And to be honest I feel like, to beat a top player in a Grand Slam, especially in the first few rounds, this is exactly how you should play. I couldn’t find my rhythm. In the third set I decided to hit the ball a little harder, hit the forehand a little heavier as well and managed to turn it around. Maybe he was a little bit more tired than me. Maybe he is not used to these kind of intense matches. But he played incredible and I hope he will continue playing this way.”

Two-time runner-up Thiem earlier became the first major upset on the opening day as he was knocked out by Spanish journeyman Pablo Andujar 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. For the first two sets, the 27-year-old Otte did not play like someone making only his third Grand Slam main-draw appearance – his previous two coming at Roland Garros as a lucky loser – and also playing his first tour-level match of 2021. But Zverev, who sealed victory with his 50th winner, had experience to fall back on and has now won all seven of his five-set contests at Roland Garros.

“I have done it before, this is what helps me the most,” said Zverev, who will next meet another qualifier in either Russian Roman Safiullin or Carlos Taberner of Spain. “In the first two sets he was killing me. I am happy with the turnaround win, I am happy to be through and most happy that I have two days off now instead of one. In the end it will also help me.”

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Sagar Biswas

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