For the most part, Round 1 of the 2014 French Open at Roland Garros has gone as expected.
The upsets might begin to come later on in the tournament, but Round 1 was all about watching the game's brightest stars dominating lesser opponents. Earning a first-round draw against a top men's star is tough for less-talented players, but it's the perfect stage for an upset. Unfortunately, none of them capitalized.
Roger Federer coasted through Round 1 against Lukas Lacko, someone who barely made it through qualifiers to earn one of the last seeds in the tournament. Such matchups occur frequently in the early rounds of Grand Slams given the size of the field.
Perhaps an upset or two will occur on Day 2 of the first round—or maybe we'll have to wait until Round 2. Regardless, they'll happen eventually. No Grand Slam is complete without a shocking upset.
Below are the most notable results from Round 1 at Roland Garros.
|Roger Federer (4)||Lukas Lacko||6–2, 6–4, 6–2|
|Milos Raonic (8)||Nick Kyrgios||6–3, 7–6 (1), 6–3|
|Tomas Berdych (6)||Peter Polansky||6-3, 6-4, 6-4|
|John Isner (10)||Pierre-Hugues Herbert||7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 7-5|
|Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13)||Edouard Roger-Vasselin||7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-2|
|Jerzy Janowicz (22)||Victor Estrella Burgos||6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-4|
|Alexandr Dolgopolov (20)||Albert Ramos||7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1|
Federer def. Lacko
Federer took care of Lacko easily, coasting to a win and heading into Round 2 with some confidence. He won 89 percent of his first-serve points and hit seven aces, and his serve even touched 200 kmh. He was dominant.
Christopher Clarey of The New York Times pointed out the remarkable fact that Federer has now played in 58 straight Grand Slams:
58 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments for Roger Federer and no end yet in sight. Remarkable— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) May 25, 2014
The fact that Federer is still capable of dominating at this stage in his career is astounding. In fact, ESPN Stats & Info's Twitter account released this notable statistic regarding Federer's career at the French Open following his win:
Roger Federer got his 59th match win at French Open today. He entered the event 1 behind Rafael Nadal's wins record— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 25, 2014
Simply put, Federer knows how to handle himself on the game's biggest stage. He's not invincible, however, as the nerves even get to him sometimes. He told reporters that he was a little nervous entering Round 1, despite the favorable matchup, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN:
I wasn't nervous actually going into the match. It's more just like those hints of fear, maybe yesterday, maybe this morning at one point, just for like five seconds, `Oh, I really hope I don't have to pack my bags today,' that kind of feeling.
Federer's early success is a sign that this tournament could be dominated by stud players. Rafael Nadal has owned this event. He was won four of the last five and eight of the last nine French Opens. Federer is the only one in the last nine years not named Nadal to win the event.
Nadal has to still be considered the favorite given his track record at Roland Garros, but Federer is solid on clay and will give him a run for his money. Federer has played just twice on clay this season and will need to make adjustments on the fly given his lack of seasoning on the surface in recent memory.
As one of the best in the history of men's tennis, Federer is a player to watch in the French Open.
John Isner def. Pierre-Hugues Herbert
It took American John Isner over two hours to defeat Pierre-Hugues Herbert—a wild-card entry from France. Tennis.com's Twitter account still thought it to be an entertaining match, however:
John Isner (7sner) d. Herbert, 7-6, 7-6, 7-5. For all the holds, it was an entertaining match. #RG14— TENNIS.com (@Tennis) May 25, 2014
Isner is notorious for taking part in lengthy matches, but he is generally pretty successful overall. Herbert gave him a run for his money in Round 1. The Frenchman was stubborn against the No. 11 player in the world, taking Isner to a tiebreak in Games 1 and 2. Not only that, but Isner also needed a 7-5 victory in the final set to put Herbert down.
The match's first break of serve didn't come until the final portion of the match, as it was that break of serve by Isner that finally ended Herbert's tournament.
Isner looked a little inconsistent with his overall game on Sunday, but he is a fantastic player on clay. When in Madrid, he told Hannah Wilks of LiveTennis.com about why clay is favorable to his game:
Clay does suit my game very well. I've had some very good results on clay and I've had some results that haven’t been so good. Sometimes it’s a bit of a slower surface. I think more than that, it bounces up high, which I like because I'm so big. When it’s warm and sunny […] it actually plays pretty fast and the ball bounces up high.
Because Isner is 6'10", he is able to strike the ball towards his waste more often than shorter players. When a ball takes a high bounce on clay, your player of average height would likely then hit it around the shoulders. This creates an uncomfortable situation for many players.
Given his gritty win in Round 1 and overall success on clay, Isner is someone to keep an eye on at Roland Garros.