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Published Time: 26.05.2024 - 14:06:41 Modified Time: 26.05.2024 - 14:06:41

For a while there, it looked as if smiling assassin Eva Lys was going to wreck Philippe Chatrier's world and take out their woman, Caroline Garcia. French Open 2024


For a while there, it looked as if smiling assassin Eva Lys was going to wreck Philippe Chatrier's world and take out their woman, Caroline Garcia.

She won the first set with a display of controlled aggression, and pushed Garcia's serve hard in the second, aided by some flashing misses from the French player, but eventually the gulf in class told.

Garcia wins 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, and moves on to face Sofia Kenin in a pretty heavyweight clash for a second-round contest.

Alexandre Muller, who raced to the first set, 6-4 against Luca Nardi of Italy, is 5-1 up in the second too.

Alejandro Tabilo, the Chilean, is 6-3, 2-1 up on the magnificently named Belgian Zizou Bergs, with Kei Nishikori and Gabriel Diallo locked at deuce at 5-4 to Diallo on serve in the first set.

In the women's singles, French favourite Caroline Garcia is a break up on Eva Lys in the decider, with Lys serving to make it 3-4. Katerina Siniakova beat Dalma Galfi 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) earlier.

Four games have started recently:

Not so much to smile for Borna Coric, who has just gone two sets down against home favourite Richard Gasquet (that's Ree-shard Gass-kay).

Gasquet took the second set, like the first, in a tie-break, 7-2 after 7-5 in the first.

Officially, the French Open started today. Fans streamed through the gates, packing Roland Garros, lining up for crepes and champagne and Aperol spritzes.

Grand slam champions played — Alcaraz, Osaka, Ostapenko — and came away with victories, even Osaka, who nearly gave away her match twice, squandering a 4-0 lead in the third set before beating Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 4-6, 7-5. The defending champion, Novak Djokovic arrived.

And yet it all felt like a prelude, a kind of overture before the real of the competition takes place,. Yesterday afternoon, the lines were 40-deep to get into Court Suzanne Lenglen , before the tournament had begun in earnest.

Why? Because Rafael Nadal was practising there. Below, Matthew Futterman previews his first-round match against Alexander Zverev. Don't miss it.

GO FURTHER

Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev preview: Nadal’s French Open aura is its own opponent

The 23-year-old from Haarlem in the Netherlands has beaten the Brit!

A superb winner, Draper can do nothing it, and he's into the second round. His prize: A clash with Carlos Alcaraz.

De Jong drops to his back in sheer relief and exhaustion.

Fair play, he's been really good. Jack Draper slinks off court frustratedly.

Caroline Garcia finally makes it count against Eva Lys, having been broken at 5-4 when serving for the second set.

We're going the distance here.

Big serve from De Jong, Draper does well to return it but can only float up a dolly of a volley for De Jong to smash home. 15-0.

Draper is fuming, with himself, with the crowd, with everything. He rips some vicious shots long beyond the baseline, pushing De Jong deeper and deeper, setting him up perfectly, then sends him the wrong way with the eyes.

But with his opponent completely out of the picture, he pulls his 'winner' too wide. The umpire inspects it and confirms. Out. 30-0.

A point apiece, 40-15 now, and Draper has to defend two match points against the qualifier.

The namesake of Dutch footballers Nigel, Luuk, and Siem, 4-3 up on serve against Jack Draper in the deciding set, sportingly applauds as Jack Draper hits a fantastic winner.

But he should be patting himself on the back after that shot!

Super stuff, that gives him break point, and Draper errs, netting. De Jong now serving for the match.

And Draper isn't happy it at all. He swears loudly, and gives some back to the loud, jeering, partisan home crowd who have been cheering on his opponent all match.

Facing Rafael Nadal on clay is, almost certainly, the toughest test in tennis. Some even call it the toughest test in any sport.

But what is it really like standing opposite that man at Roland Garros, a place where he has won a ludicrous 97.4% of his matches?

The Athletic's Charlie Eccleshare has spoken to around a dozen players to attempt to answer the question: what exactly makes playing Nadal specifically so terrifying?

See those questions answered in the brilliant piece below.

GO FURTHER

What’s it like to play Rafael Nadal on clay? We asked Djokovic, Ruud and Dimitrov

With the rain fully gone away — sorry if that proves a jinx — let's take a look at what's going on around Roland Garros.

In the women's draw:

In the men's draw:

Things are going on serve in the deciding set between Jack Draper and Jesper De Jong, with De Jong 3-2 up.

Japan's Kei Nishikori has just started against Gabriel Diallo.

Dalma Galfi, after losing the first set 7-5 against Katerina Siniakova, is 4-1 up in the second.

Two matches have started recently: Bai Zhuoxuan a break up on Chinese compatriot Wang Xiyu at 2-0 in the first set, with Amanda Anisimova 5-5 on serve with Rebecca Sramkova.

Two results from earlier: Jana Fett beat Jessica Bouzas Maneiro 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, and Sofia Kenin came from behind to beat German Laura Siegemund 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

The 37-year-old veteran Richard Gasquet is 4-4 in the second set with Borna Coric after taking the first 7-6, and Alexandre Muller a break up on Luca Nardi at 4-2 in the first set.

In the women's, Caroline Garcia is 4-3 down (on serve) against Eva Lys after losing the first set 6-4.

One of the biggest question marks in Paris is regarding Rafael Nadal, and his future beyond this tournament. But he hasn't completely ruled out a return to Roland Garros next year.

When asked in a press conference yesterday if this year would be his last, he said: “Don’t assume that. It’s a big, big chance that it’s going to be my last Roland Garros.

“But if I have to tell you it’s 100 percent my last Roland Garros? Sorry, but I will not because I cannot predict what’s going on.”

Nadal, who turns 38 on June 3, has hinted at 2024 being the final year of his playing career after missing much of two seasons.

GO FURTHER

Rafael Nadal says ‘don’t assume’ this year is his last French Open

Having been 2-4 down when the rain came, Ukrainian Kostyuk could have been forgiven for rolling over.

Instead, she reeled off four games in a row to defeat Laura Pigossi of Brazil in three sets, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4.

Historically, Nadal's dominance here is sport-leading. These days, in this condition, you'd have to say he's an underdog against the giant German Zverev.

That said, he is the only player with more than 10 wins against top five-ranked opponents at Roland Garros since the ATP Rankings were published in 1974, with 20. Novak Djokovic is closest to him, with nine.

If he were to go on an unlikely run to the final, here's who he might face:

Confirmation that German Maximilian Marterer has secured a comfortable win against Aussie Jordan Thompson. 6-3, 6-2, 6-0.

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