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Stefanos Tsitsipas hits 57 winners in a four-set win against Jiri Vesely on Sunday at Roland Garros.

Tsitsipas Holds Firm For Vesely Win At Roland Garros

2021 finalist to play Carballes Baena next in Paris

Stefanos Tsitsipas passed a stern first-round test on Sunday at Roland Garros, where the fifth seed overcame Jiri Vesely 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7) at the clay-court major.

The fifth seed appeared set for a routine victory on Court Philippe Chatrier after claiming the first two sets but Vesely, playing in his first tour-level tournament since the US Open last September, battled hard. The Czech sealed the third set with a late break of his opponent’s serve and led 6/3 and 7/6 in the fourth-set tie-break, but Tsitsipas kept his cool to dig out a three-hour, 13-minute victory.

“He was a difficult obstacle today, I won’t lie,” said Tsitsipas of the former World No. 35 Vesely. “He gave me a hard time. I’m happy I overcame it in such a fashion. I was able to bounce back from all those difficulties that were being thrown at me constantly. Today’s win is very important for me.”

With his 28th tour-level win of the year, Tsitsipas kept alive his hopes of reaching No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on 12 June. The 24-year-old must lift his major maiden trophy in Paris to have a chance of reaching top spot, although he would also need Carlos Alcaraz to fall by the third round and Daniil Medvedev to lose by the quarter-finals.

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Tsitsipas outhit Vesely by 57 winners to 31 in Sunday's clash but the Czech consistently raised his level at key moments to keep the fifth seed on his toes in the pair’s maiden ATP Head2Head meeting. Tsitsipas’ dominance on serve ultimately proved key: The Greek won 83 per cent (71/86) of points behind his first delivery overall.

“'Just keep going to the ball’, that’s what I kept telling myself,” said Tsitsipas. “At times I was not going to the ball, staying still, waiting for it to come to me. So when I took charge, when I said ‘I’m just going for it’, I think that was the moment when I made that switch and won the match.”

Tsitsipas now holds a 19-6 record at Roland Garros, where he reached the championship match in 2021. His second-round opponent in Paris will be Roberto Carballes Baena, who defeated qualifier Emilio Nava 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-2.

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Elsewhere in the Greek's section of the draw, Portugal's Nuno Borges outlasted American John Isner 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(11-9) in a battle of former college tennis stars.

Borges served for the match in the fifth set and then held three match points on Isner's serve in the next game. He also let slip two match points in the tie-break before eventually hitting a forehand winner to advance.

Thanasi Kokkinakis enjoyed a more straightforward win on Sunday when he took out the 20th seed Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The Australian wild card converted five of 13 break points he earned en route to his first main draw win at Roland Garros since 2015.

Kokkinakis could face a former champion, Stan Wawrinka, next in Paris, should the 2015 winner defeat Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his first-round match.

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Sebastian Korda and Lorenzo Musetti also secured straight-sets opening wins. Korda notched his first victory since January’s Australian Open by defeating his fellow American Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.

The 22-year-old Korda was sidelined for three months after retiring from his quarter-final against Karen Khachanov in Melbourne, but he returned to competitive action in April in Madrid. He converted seven of 19 break points he earned against McDonald in Paris to register a two-hour, 36-minute triumph. He next plays Sebastian Ofner, who downed Maxime Cressy 6-4, 7-6(6), 6-2.

The 17th-seeded Musetti brushed past Mikael Ymer 7-5, 6-2, 6-4. The Italian, who reached the fourth round on Roland Garros debut as a 19-year-old in 2021, will face Alexander Shevchenko or Oscar Otte in the second round.

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