French Open 2023 results: Stefanos Tsitsipas begins with victory over Jiri Vesely

2023-05-28 20:59:44

Stefanos Tsitsipas has won 14 of his 18 matches on clay this season, finishing runner-up to Carlos Alcaraz at last month’s Barcelona Open
Dates: 28 May-11 June Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
Coverage: Live text and radio commentaries of selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app

Stefanos Tsitsipas says “plenty of red wine and baguettes” will help his French Open title challenge after his first-round win over Jiri Vesely.

Fifth seed Tsitsipas faced four set points in a fourth set tie-break but the Greek battled back to seal a 7-5 6-3 4-6 7-6 (9-7) victory over his 455th-ranked Czech opponent.

The 24-year-old will play Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena next.

“I said to myself there’s no chance this is going to a fifth set,” he said.

“Jiri was a difficult obstacle. He gave me a hard time and I am happy I overcame it in such fashion.”

Tsitsipas, who lost to Novak Djokovic in January’s Australian Open final, has not lost in the first round at Roland Garros since 2017.

Asked what he needed to do to be successful in Paris this year, the 2021 finalist said “plenty of red wine and baguettes would help me do well in Paris”, as well as watching films featuring his favourite actress Margot Robbie.

Vesely only returned to competition in April after injuring his hamstring during last year’s US Open.

The 29-year-old, who has contested just two ATP Challenger events since then, threatened to force a fifth set against Tsitsipas but failed to take any of his opportunities in the tie-break, allowing the Greek to rally from 6-3 down.

Pouille enjoys win in front of home crowd

Lucas Pouille celebrates a point
Lucas Pouille reached the Australian Open semi-finals in 2019, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic

France’s Lucas Pouille led the home crowd in a rendition of the French national anthem after securing his first Grand Slam main draw win in four years.

Pouille, 29, came through qualifying and beat Austrian lucky loser Jurij Rodionov 6-2 6-4 6-3 in front of a packed court 14 crowd.

The former world number 10 has previously spoken aboutexternal-link his struggles with alcohol and depression after a series of injuries in 2022.

“When people started to sing at the end of the match I wanted to stay on court as much as possible, in order to live these emotions with them,” Pouille said.

“I wanted to really make the most of every single minute with them on court.”

Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev was among the seeded players who safely progressed on Sunday.

Rublev, 25, was forced to play four sets against Laslo Djere and said he was “too calm” as he lost the second set, before going on to win 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-3.

His compatriot Karen Khachanovseeded 11th, produced a stunning fightback from two sets down against France’s Constant Lestienne, winning 3-6 1-6 6-2 6-1 6-3 after three hours and 41 minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Poland’s 13th seed Hubert Hurkacz was also forced to go the distance against Belgium’s David Goffin, eventually prevailing 6-3 5-7 6-4 2-6 6-4.

Italian 17th seed Lorenzo Musetti faced no such problems in a 7-5 6-2 6-4 win over Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, nor did American 24th seed Sebastian Cordawho beat compatriot Mackenzie McDonald 6-4 7-5 6-4.

After his match, Korda paid tribute to absent champion Rafael Nadal, whose signed shirt is still hung up in his room.

“One of the most impressive things in tennis history, maybe sports history, is how many times he’s won here and how much he’s dominated here,” Korda said.

“It definitely opens up the draw, that’s for sure. But there are still so many unbelievable players playing. He is definitely missed.”

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