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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Juan Martin del Potro eases past Nicolas Mahut in French Open first round

Juan Martin del Potro came back from a set down to defeat Nicolas Mahut 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the French Open first round on Tuesday.

tennis Updated: May 30, 2018 10:34 IST
Agencies, Paris
Juan Martin del Potro will face either his compatriot Leonardo Mayer or Julien Benneteau in the French Open second round on Tuesday.
Juan Martin del Potro will face either his compatriot Leonardo Mayer or Julien Benneteau in the French Open second round on Tuesday.(REUTERS)

Juan Martin del Potro beat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of French Open tennis on Tuesday.

The former US Open champion, who retired injured at the Italian Open earlier this month, had said he would make a last-minute decision on his fitness at Roland Garros.

READ | Rohan Bopanna-Edouard Roger-Vasselin advance to French Open second round

But the Argentinian fifth seed, a semi-finalist in 2009, came through his match against Mahut with relative comfort after his difficult start and broke wildcard Mahut’s serve five times.

Del Potro will take on either his compatriot Leonardo Mayer or French veteran Julien Benneteau in round two.

READ | From Serena Williams to Kim Clijsters - Meet the supermoms of tennis

Shapovalov wins French Open debut

Denis Shapovalov plopped himself down for his news conference Tuesday after winning his French Open debut, leaned into the microphone and said, “’Sup?’”

Then he smiled broadly as can be. This was a milestone day in the nascent career of the rapidly rising Canadian teen, who seems as carefree on the court as he is off it, compiling significant victories and praise from opponents in equal doses.

READ | Yuki Bhambri makes disappointing first-round exit at French Open

Shapovalov’s first Grand Slam match as a seeded player - he is No. 24 at Roland Garros - became a 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 victory over 59th-ranked John Millman of Australia, thanks in large part to a 32-9 edge in total winners.

A year ago, not only wasn’t Shapovalov seeded, he didn’t even make the main draw, losing in the opening round of qualifying.

“It’s tough to climb the way I did. It’s been pretty crazy. Even I didn’t expect it,” Shapovalov said. “I mean, I’m just trying to stay focused. Like I always say, doesn’t matter the week, doesn’t matter the result, I’m always trying to get back on the court and get better. I’m only 19. I have a lot to improve, a lot to learn.”

READ | Maria Sharapova marks French Open comeback with narrow victory over Richel Hogenkamp

Asked how he thinks he can get better, Shapovalov began by saying there are so many areas he wants to work on that it could take hours to list them all.

Still, he gave it a try, rattling off various categories: returns, net play, first-serve percentage, using shifts in momentum to his advantage, being mentally stronger.

“To me, it’s kind of positive that today I am where I am, (ranked No. 25), and I feel like I have so much room to improve. For me, it’s motivating,” he said. “I keep wanting to go forward, keep getting better.”

First Published: May 30, 2018 09:38 IST