French Open Results: John Isner Among Tuesday's Winners Despite Loss to Rafael Nadal
Day 3 at Roland Garros is complete.
The upset of Tomas Berdych on Day 2 remained the biggest upset of the tournament, but there were some quality matches on the last day of the opening round. The top players in action were Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova.
Some players who were expected to waltz through the first round were tested. As always, some matches with lopsided results still contained great play from both players. Long points decorated the clay courts of the French Open.
Now that the first round is complete, let's look at the top three winners and losers from Day 3 in Paris, France.
Winner No. 1: John Isner
John Isner may not feel like a winner after Tuesday's match with Rafael Nadal for two reasons:
1. His legs must feel like lead after being ran around by the best clay-court player in the world.
2. He didn't win the match.
However, Isner is my first winner because he's the first person to ever push Nadal to five sets at the French Open. Yes, Nadal has been beaten once, but he's never had to play a full five-set match at Roland Garros. He's never even lost a set in the first round.
Isner won both the second and third sets in tiebreakers, actually holding a 2-1 lead. Nadal fought back with inspired tennis to take out the young American, but Isner has to be proud of his effort.
A loss never immediately feels good, but this is a win in the long run for Isner and his confidence moving forward.
Winner No. 2: Vania King
Vania King is primarily a doubles player.
She actually won the last two Grand Slams last season in doubles with partner Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. King and Shvedova have yet to take the court for their first doubles match, but King had a singles match with No. 22 Dominika Cibulkova.
King held a 2-0 record against Cibulkova, with a recent triumph in the first round of last year's Australian Open. Four of the six sets the two had played in the past went to tiebreakers, and that's how the first set ended. Cibulkova won 12-10 in the breaker, giving her the advantage.
King went on to win the next two sets convincingly, as 52 errors were too many to overcome for Cibulkova.
King moves on to play Elena Baltacha in the second round, who she's never played before.
Winner No. 3: Kim Clijsters
Kim Clijsters has quietly won two consecutive major titles.
The U.S. and Australian Open both ended with Clijsters being the only woman left undefeated, and Clijsters is looking to make it three in a row at the French Open. She has made two finals and one semifinal appearance on clay, but all three came before her short retirement.
Clijsters has not played at Roland Garros since 2006.
However, rust was not an issue Tuesday. She won a routine straight-set match against Anastasiya Yakimova in 80 minutes to open up the 2011 French Open. Clijsters struggled a bit to finish the match, but she ultimately came out unscathed.
Clijsters will face Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands in the next round.
Loser No. 1: Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic lost her first-round match against Johanna Larsson of Sweden, effectively ending her French Open chances earlier than the No. 20 seed would have liked. Ivanovic has had some issues with her confidence lately, and it showed Tuesday.
After losing a tough first set, Ivanovic dominated the second set. She converted all three of her break point opportunities to win the set without surrendering a game. However, for the second time this season, Ivanovic lost a match in which she won a set 6-0.
Ivanovic hasn't surpassed the fourth round of a major since her victory at the French Open in 2008.
Loser No. 2: Nicolas Almagro
Nicolas Almagro blew a two-set lead on Tuesday, making him the biggest disappointment of the day. The No. 11 seed could have been considered a dark horse in this tournament after his run to the quarterfinals last year.
He played Nadal the toughest at Roland Garros last year, losing two sets in tiebreakers. Nadal won all 21 sets to capture the title, and he was only involved in one other tiebreaker the entire tournament.
This year, Almagro jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead against the Polish Lukasz Kubot. Each set was less than 40 minutes long, and Almagro broke Kubot's serve six times—three in each set.
Almagro played two more great sets from the ground in the third and fourth sets, but he couldn't win either tiebreaker. Kubot hit 17 of his 75 winners in the deciding set to clinch the comeback win over Almagro. It wasn't a sloppy match for Almagro, who hit 69 winners to just 23 unforced errors.
However, the collapse will linger in Almagro's head until Wimbledon at least.
Loser No. 3: Philipp Kohlschreiber
Philipp Kohlschreiber and Sam Querrey had only met twice in first rounds of Grand Slams in the past, splitting the two matches. They continued that streak by meeting in the first round of the French Open Tuesday.
Querrey had never won a match at Roland Garros coming in, and Kohlschreiber is the far more accomplished clay-court player. Kohlschreiber upset Novak Djokovic in the 2009 French Open, proving his ability on the surface.
Kohlschreiber took only 29 minutes to win the first set, serving 72 percent in the set.
For the first time in his career, Querrey settled at the French Open. He took it to Kohlschreiber in the next three sets, losing only seven games in the victory. Kohlschreiber served at a higher percentage for the match, but Querrey was the more solid player from the ground.
Kohlschreiber will turn his attention to Wimbledon, where he's never got past the Round of 32.