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Rosol takes game to Wawrinka at damp Roland Garros

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka playing Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol at Roland Garros on Monday
Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka playing Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol at Roland Garros on Monday Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

The men’s defending champion Stan Wawrinka came perilously close to the exit door during his first-round match against Lukas Rosol on a rainy Monday in the Tennis Open at Roland Garros in Paris.

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The third seed beat the Czech on his way to winning the Geneva Open just before the start of the French Open.

But from the opening exchanges in damp and heavy conditions, it appeared that the 30-year-old journeyman had learned his lessons from the defeat in Wawrinka’s homeland.

He took the game to the third seed who appeared startled by his opponent’s brash shotmaking. After levelling at one set apiece, the smart money would have been on Wawrinka to press on and take the match in four sets.

Rosol, though, continued to plough on with his carefully constructed game.

It brought him the reward of the third set and after carving out break points in the fourth set at 2-2, it could have led to further glory. But he squandered the chance.

“I think those break points were the only moments when Rosol started to be a bit tight,” said Wawrinka after the three-and-a-half hour slog. “On the second break point I think he missed a shot that he hadn’t missed during the earlier part of the match.

“And that was it.”

Wawrinka held to lead 3-2 and, clearly rattled by his missed opportunities, Rosol lost his subsequent service game to trail 2-4. Instead of creating history, he was a mere detail. Wawrinka took the decider 6-4.

Stepanek faces Murray

Rosol’s compatriot Radek Stepanek surged into a two-set lead over the second seed Andy Murray with a mixture of crunching baseline ground strokes and adventurous net play. But the exhibition stopped as Murray won nine straight games to take the third and command of the fourth.at 4-2 when play was suspended for poor light.

There were no such delays for the eighth seed Milos Raonic. He moved into the second round in straight sets, as did the fifth seed Kei Nishikori. However; the former US Open champion Marin Cilic unravelled against the Argentine qualifier Marco Trungelliti. The Croatian 10th seed was beaten in four sets.

Simon pleases home fans

The home fans had some cheer with wins for 16th seed Gilles Simon, 30th seed Jeremy Chardy and Caroline Garcia.

Elsewhere in the women’s draw, second seed Agnieszka Radwanska disposed of Bojana Jovanovski 6-0 6-2 and the 2014 finalist Simona Halep was similarly brusque with Nao Hibino from Japan.

The men’s top seed Novak Djokovic begins his campaign on Tuesday for the only grand slam title to have eluded his gilded hands.

Serena Williams, the women’s defending champion, starts her quest to collect a 22nd major singles crown and equal the Open era haul of Steffi Graf. Should the king and queen of the circuits succeed in their respective quests, legend awaits.

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