Garcia-Lopez Repeats Wawrinka Upset
In 2014, Stan Wawrinka entered Roland Garros with high expectations after winning his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open earlier in the year. But the Swiss star’s ambitions of a second consecutive major title were ended in the first round, losing to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in four sets.
On Monday, four years on from their most recent meeting on clay, the pair met again in the opening round in Paris. But, once more, it was Garcia-Lopez who emerged victorious.
The 34-year-old, competing in his 15th consecutive Roland Garros, came from two sets to one down to upset last year's finalist 6-2 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 . The Spaniard, who reached the Round of 16 in 2014, hit 44 winners and won 75 per cent of first-serve points to advance after three and a half hours.
With the win, Garcia-Lopez has now captured four of 11 FedEx ATP Head2Head series meetings against Wawrinka and improves his record against the 2015 champion to 4-2 in clay-court meetings.
"It's disappointing to lose a match when you're so close to winning," explained Wawrinka. "I knew I could win; my physical and mental level is almost there. I was very close today... At the same time, I haven't played a best-of-five sets match in one year. So even when you're practising, you can't play with that pressure."
Garcia Lopez, who now owns 10 wins against Top 30 opposition at Grand Slam events (10-21) will face Russia’s Karen Khachanov for a spot in the Round of 32. Khachanov defeated Austria’s Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-6(0), 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 53 minutes. The Open 13 Provence champion fired 17 aces and won 92 per cent of net points (13/14) en route to victory.
Wawrinka wasn't the only seed to depart on Day Two, with Borna Coric battling past BMW Open by FWU finalist and No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The 21-year-old sealed his spot in the second round for the fourth consecutive year after two hours and 39 minutes. Coric won 83 per cent of first-serve points, firing 10 aces, en route to victory.
The Croatian made at least the quarter-finals at two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events this season (Indian Wells, Miami). Last year in Marrakech, he claimed his maiden title by saving five match points against Kohlschreiber in the championship match. Coric will next face Matthew Ebden or Thomas Fabbiano, whose match was suspended at the end of the fourth set due to rain.
In a meeting of in-form talents, Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie also secured his spot in the second round. The Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon semi-finalist was leading Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open runner-up Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 2-0 when the German was forced to retire.
"I think that that was the best tennis I have played in my life," said Norrie. "I think I was in the zone and not making any unforced errors, being the one dictating play. He obviously made a final last week [in Geneva].
"So I played [at a] very, very high level throughout the match and was able to stay concentrated and focused... I outplayed him throughout, and it was unfortunate for him to pick up an injury throughout the match."
Did You Know?
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez’s 2014 victory over Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros saw the Swiss become the first reigning Australian Open champion to lose in the first round of the subsequent since Petr Korda in 1998.