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Roland Garros goes Wild

Medvedev out; Rybakina, Gauff and Zverev advance
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PARIS: World number two Daniil Medvedev was knocked out of the French Open in the first round, losing in five sets to 172nd-ranked Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil as Alexander Zverev made a winning return to Roland Garros on Tuesday.


Seyboth Wild, who came through the qualifiers and had never previously won a Grand Slam match, triumphed 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (6/8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.


It was Medvedev's fifth loss in the opening round at Roland Garros in seven appearances.


"I have watched Daniil play in my junior years. It's a dream come true to beat these kinds of players on this court," said the 23-year-old Brazilian who unleashed 69 winners past the Russian.


"I just wanted to get my angles right, get to the net as much as possible and use my forehand as much as possible against his -- I guess it worked pretty well."


He added: "I was cramping in the second set and couldn't really serve the way I wanted to but I tried to play my best tennis. I'm really happy with the way I played."


Seyboth Wild, without a win on the main tour since February 2022, had squandered two set points which would have given him a two-sets lead.


Medvedev made him pay, levelling the tie and then claiming a double break in the third set.


But the Brazilian hit back, a double break of his own in the fourth set levelling the clash as a fractious Medvedev bickered with the crowd.


In the final set, Seyboth Wild twice saw breaks retrieved by the Russian before he finally backed up a third break with a hold for 5-3.


He held his nerve to clinch the four-hour 15-minute match courtesy of two giant forehands and will face either Guido Pella or Quentin Halys for a place in the last 32.


Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina brushed off a slow start to dispatch Czech teenager Brenda Fruhvirtova in straight sets and book a place in round two.


The Kazakh world number four, among the three main favourites for the title alongside Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, beat the talented 16-year-old 6-4, 6-2.


"Didn't start that well, took me a while to figure out how to play this... But I'm very happy," said Rybakina.


She will face another Czech teen, Linda Noskova, in the next round.


FIVE-HOUR EPIC


Italian qualifier Andrea Vavassori saved five match points to knock out Serb 31st seed Miomir Kecmanovic in a five-hour 10-minute French Open epic.


Vavassori hit a colossal 106 winners in his 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (10/8), 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (11/9) first round win.


Ranked 148 in the world, the 28-year-old from Turin is making his Roland Garros debut this year.


He goes on to face Argentinian qualifier Genaro Olivieri, ranked 231, who defeated France's Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.


Meanwhile, last year's runner-up Coco Gauff recovered from losing the first set to beat Spain's Rebeka Masarova and reach the second round.


The American sixth seed battled to a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 success and will take on either Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus or Austria's Julia Grabher next.


"Rebeka played a great match but I'm pleased I managed to turn it around," said Gauff.


"I know that I'm confident on the surface and these conditions."


Gauff, who lost to Iga Swiatek in last year's final, was broken early in the match and then saw eight break points come and go as Masarova held on to take the first set.


But the 19-year-old Gauff raced through the second and then wasted little time in wrapping up the match as she broke serve three times in the decider.


WINNING RETURN


Germany's Zverev made a winning return to Roland Garros with a straight-set win over Lloyd Harris in the first round, 12 months since suffering a serious ankle injury in the semifinals.


The German had to retire injured from a dramatic last-four clash with Rafael Nadal last season after twisting his ankle and did not play again in 2022.


That match had already reached three hours and was locked at 6-6 in the second set after Nadal won a first-set tie-break when Zverev suffered torn ankle ligaments and had to be taken off Court Philippe Chatrier in a wheelchair.


Zverev, who was the third seed last year, is only seeded 22nd this time around after struggling to recapture his best form since returning to the ATP Tour.


But the former US Open finalist had enough to beat South African Harris 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/0), 6-1.


"It's nice to be back. I've marked this day in bold on my calendar since last year," Zverev said.


"I was obviously very disappointed with how that tournament ended for me (last year).


"That's why I think I appreciate even more when I play in a full stadium and the crowd is behind me."


Zverev went out in the first round in 2017 and needed five sets to win his opening tie at Roland Garros in both 2019 and 2021.


"No (not happy with his performance). But I'm happy that I won in three sets. Normally I start with five-set matches so I'm happy to win in three."


Zverev will next face Slovakia's Alex Molcan as he tries to reach the third round for a sixth straight year.


Jabeur mows down Bronzetti


In women's section, World No 7 Ons Jabeur made a near-flawless start to her French Open campaign as she brushed aside unseeded Italian Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-1 to reach round two, while 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva grabbed her first Grand Slam main draw win.


Last year's runner-up and fourth seed Norwegian Casper Ruud also made his way into the next round by thumping Swedish qualifier Elias Ymer 6-4 6-3 6-2 after American 16th seed Tommy Paul swatted aside Dominic Stephan Stricker 6-3 6-2 6-4.


Jabeur has had a stop-start season in which she had minor knee surgery before winning the title in Charleston and skipping the Madrid Open with a calf problem but the Tunisian was in peak form in Paris as she eased through the first set.


Bronzetti came into the clash on Court Philippe Chatrier high on confidence after winning the first singles title of her career in Rabat but the 24-year-old's hopes of ending a five-match losing run at the majors faded as the contest wore on.


Jabeur, the runner-up at last year's Wimbledon and US Open after a shock first-round defeat at Roland Garros, blended guile and power as she reeled off the breaks in the second set to go 5-0 up before dropping serve.


The 28-year-old quickly shook off that minor dip to comfortably close out the contest in the following game when Bronzetti sent a shot wide at the net.


Andreeva announced herself to the world when she stunned 2021 US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez 6-3 6-4 in Madrid last month and also defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia and Magda Linette before falling to eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka.


The Russian qualifier broke new ground at the majors with a 6-2 6-1 win over former world number 18 Alison Riske-Amritraj.


"Last year I was here as a junior and I think I couldn't even imagine that I can be here playing the women's tournament and being in a major passing qualification," Andreeva said.


"I'm pretty excited about it ... I just try to enjoy every moment here."


Up next for Andreeva is wild card Diane Parry who stunned Rome runner-up Anhelina Kalinina 6-2, 6-3. -- Agencies


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