Norrie Defeats Paire In Five-Set Thriller, Fognini Upsets Felix At Roland Garros
The British lefty fought hard throughout the three-hour, 36-minute clash, triumphing 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
The 14th seed showed great agility to handle Paire’s court craft and he rallied from 2-4 in the fifth set, demonstrating his high fitness levels to defeat former World No. 18 Paire, who was backed by vocal home support on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
"It was an amazing match and all credit to Benoit, he played really well," Norrie said. "It is nice to see him back competing really hard. It was a great atmosphere. Thank you for the support for both of us, it was amazing. I was fortunate for it to go my way in the fifth set, but I am pleased to be through after a really tough one."
Norrie is into the second round at the clay-court Slam for the third consecutive year, having advanced to the third round in 2021 and 2022. The 27-year-old is currently 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and will be looking to climb higher in Paris.
"I think all the training makes it worth it for moments like this, playing a fifth set at Roland Garros," Norrie said. "I am feeling good physically and I wanted to make the points long."
Also on Monday, Fabio Fognini gave a stark reminder of his ability on clay with a straight-sets upset of 10th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Making his 15th consecutive main draw appearance at Roland Garros, the 2011 quarter-finalist sealed a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 triumph for his fifth tour-level triumph of the season. Fognini, who defeated former World No. 1 Andy Murray en route to the third round in Rome two weeks ago, converted eight of his nine break points to wrap a two-hour, 17-minute win on Court Simonne-Mathieu.
With his win, Fognini levelled his ATP Head2Head series with Auger-Aliassime at 1-1. The Italian’s second-round opponent in Paris will be Australian Jason Kubler.
The Canadian Shapovalov overcame 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the second round in Paris for the third time. The 24-year-old, seeded 26, is aiming to find his best form at the clay-court event, having not won consecutive tour-level matches since the Australian Open in January. He will next play Italian Matteo Arnaldi.
The Argentine Schwartzman fought back from two sets down to defeat Bernabe Zapata Miralles 1-6, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0, 6-4. With his victory, the 2020 semi-finalist snapped a four-match losing streak. The 30-year-old will meet Nuno Borges in the second round.
In other action, Juan Pablo Varillas earned his first Grand Slam main draw win when he rallied past #NextGenATP Chinese player Shang Juncheng 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. The Peruvian will next meet 19th seed Roberto Bautista Agut after the Spaniard defeated China’s Wu Yibing 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-1.
Australian Alex de Minaur also advanced, defeating Ilya Ivashka 6-1, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. The 24-year-old has never advanced past the second round in six previous appearances in Paris, but will aim to change that against Tomas Martin Etcheverry. The Argentine Etcheverry advanced after Jack Draper was forced to retire due to injury when trailing 4-6, 0-1.