May 22, 2016
Kei Nishikori’s opening match against Simone Bolelli was suspended before the Japanese star could finish the job. That made for a complicated start to the Asian hero’s Roland Garros campaign.
Rain made for a tricky first day at the French Open. Nishikori seemed to sense that opportunities for continuous play might be few and far between. He got off to a storming start against Bolelli, blowing him away 6-1 in the first set as if time were in short supply.
The Italian rallied in the second, pushing Nishikori much closer. But he still found himself edged out 5-7, so that the higher ranked player commanded a two-set lead.
However, play was suspended again with Nishikori 2-1 up in the third, meaning that he won’t be blue to switch off properly overnight. Even though victory would appear to be within touching distance, that’s not the same feeling as when a match is done and dusted.
Meanwhile Australian bad-boy Nick Kyrgios quickly found himself at the centre of fresh controversy. He became involved in a furious row with umpire Carlos Ramos during his match against ltaly’s Marco Cecchinato.
The umpire claimed Kyrgios has been too rude and loud when he yelled at a ball boy for a towel – and issued him with code violation. Kyrgios said this represented ‘unbelievable bias’ after Novak Djokovic had got away with similar behaviour in Rome.
At least the most volatile talent in tennis managed to keep his cool long enough to win two tie-breaks and the final set 6-4. He still taunted some of his detractors in the crowd shortly before he secured the result, though.
Petra Kvitova was involved in the most dramatic match of the women’s first day. She needed three sets to defeat Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, and almost didn’t come through at all.
The two-time champion was 4-5 down in the decider and staring at another early-round defeat but fought back to win 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
There was no such joy for Britain’s Heather Watson. She was troubled by the wet conditions against American Nicole Gibbs – until the rain may actually have saved her.
Gibbs won the first set 7-5 but Watson looked even more impressive as she surged back to take the second 6-2.
But it was Gibbs who was able to break early in the third and adapt better as the drizzle came down. She was serving at 2-1 up with Watson looking distinctly uncomfortable when the rain became too heavy to continue.
With more bad weather forecast for Paris on Tuesday, the start of the French Open has tested the nerve and composure of many a player already.
On the first day there were no great shocks. Some of the bigger players on Day Two may not be so lucky.