Wawrinka overboard as Nadal, Djokovic, Sharapova shine
By Dave James ,AFP
May 28, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
PARIS -- Third-seeded Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka made a shock, listless exit from the French Open on Monday at the hands of Spanish journeyman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
The Swiss, bidding to become the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win the French Open in the same year as the Australian title, lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
The 29-year-old Wawrinka produced a woeful 61 unforced errors as Garcia-Lopez, the world number 41, booked a second round match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
Wawrinka, a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros in 2013 and tipped as a possible title contender after winning the Monte Carlo Masters claycourt crown last month, was the second top 10 seed to lose at a rain-hit Monday.
Japanese ninth seed Kei Nishikori had earlier lost 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-2 to Slovakia's Martin Klizan.
There were no such problems for Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova who all shrugged off the Paris gloom.
Eight-time champion Nadal, bidding to become the first man to win five Roland Garros titles in a row, beat U.S. wildcard and world number 279 Robby Ginepri 6-0, 6-3, 6-0.
It was Nadal's 60th win at the French Open against just one loss.
World number one Nadal kicked off his campaign on the secondary Suzanne Lenglen court while title rivals Djokovic and Wawrinka were handed top billing on the main Philippe Chatrier arena.
It was a decision blasted as “bizarre” by one fellow professional even though Nadal himself had criticized the state of the newly laid clay on Chatrier after a weekend practice session.
Despite the controversy, it was business as usual for Nadal who fired 27 winners past Ginepri, a semifinalist at the 2005 U.S. Open whose challenge was undone by 41 unforced errors.
“It doesn't matter where I play,” said Nadal who next faces highly-rated Dominic Thiem of Austria.
“It's always a pleasure and an honor to play at Roland Garros, on Chatrier, Lenglen or any other court. This place has given me unforgettable emotions.”
Second seed Djokovic, the 2012 runner-up who is seeking a first Roland Garros title to complete a career Grand Slam, brushed aside Portugal's Joao Sousa, the world 42, in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Djokovic, widely regarded as the favorite to dethrone Nadal having beaten the Spaniard in Rome two weeks ago, next faces French hope Jeremy Chardy.
“I played for most of the match quite solid. The end of the match was not so nice from my side because I dropped my serve twice,” said Djokovic.