Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Headlines

Venus, Kyrgios out of Roland Garros as Dimitrov progresses

Great job: Grigor Dimitrov is congratulated by Mohamed Safwat © AFP / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT

PARIS, France, May 27Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov reached the French Open second round on Sunday, even if he wasn’t exactly sure who he was facing, while Venus Williams was defeated and Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios limped out.

Dimitrov had been drawn to face experienced Viktor Troicki in the tournament opener on Philippe Chatrier Court.

However, just before he was due to go on court, Troicki withdrew with a back injury, allowing Egyptian world number 182 Mohamed Safwat to make his Grand Slam debut.

In the process, he became the first Egyptian since Tamer El Sawy at the 1996 US Open to feature in a major.

“I was warming up and my coach said, ‘hey look’ and we saw up on the board that I was playing a different opponent,” said 27-year-old Dimitrov, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, after his 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) win.

“I didn’t expect that.”

Safwat, 27, had lost in the final round of qualifying in what was his eighth futile attempt to make the main draw of the majors.

But Safwat, one of eight lucky losers in the men’s draw, then overcame blisters on his right hand to put up a solid challenge in the third set before Dimitrov raced through the tiebreaker.

“I only heard I was playing an hour before the match,” said Safwat.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“I dealt with it as best I could. I had never set foot on that court before.”

Seven-time major winner Venus Williams suffered back-to-back opening round exits at the Slams for the first time in her 21-year career.

The ninth-seeded, 37-year-old American slumped to a 6-4, 7-5 defeat to China’s world 91 Wang Qiang, a player she knocked out in Paris last year.

Williams, playing Roland Garros for the 21st time, was in no mood for lengthy explanations after her loss.

Revenge is sweet: China’s Wang Qiang celebrates © AFP / Eric FEFERBERG

“Nobody plans for this,” she said.

Kyrgios was forced to withdraw after failing to recover from an elbow injury, saying a potential five sets on clay was “too risky”.

The 23-year-old was seeded 21 and was due to play compatriot Bernard Tomic in the first round.

The enigmatic Kyrgios has not played a singles match since a quarter-final loss to Ivo Karlovic at the US Clay Court Championships in April.

“Having consulted with my team and medical experts it is deemed too risky for me to step out and potentially play five sets on clay, especially as I have not played a singles match in nearly two months,” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.

Kyrgios’s withdrawal meant that eight places in the first round were opened up to lucky losers.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal, who starts his campaign for an 11th Roland Garros title on Monday, will also face a lucky loser.

Italy’s world 130 Simone Bolelli moved into the draw after Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov pulled out with a wrist injury.

Women’s fourth seed Elina Svitolina, a quarter-finalist in Paris in 2015 and 2017, overcame a first set 1-5 deficit to see off Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-3.

“To be ready for a Grand Slam is always the goal, the main goal for me,” said the 23-year-old Ukrainian, also a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open this year.

“I try to do everything what’s in my power to play my best game on the Grand Slams.”

Svitolina next faces Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova who put out 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone, the 37-year-old Italian who made it through qualifying, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2).

Other early winners on Sunday included Estonian 25th seed Anett Kontaveit who downed Madison Brengle of the United States 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

Kontaveit defeated Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the semi-finals in Rome last week.

She was also a semi-finalist on clay in Stuttgart while also beating Venus Williams in Madrid.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens, the 10th seed, needed just 49 minutes to breeze past Arantxa Rus 6-2, 6-0.

Later Sunday, German second seed Alexander Zverev starts against Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

More on Capital Sports

Football

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...

NFL

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

Features

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Kakamega High School ‘Green Commandos’ have produced a plethora of talent over the past decades in Kenyan football...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved