The top-seeded ATP players who are competing in the 2023 French Open are through to the second round, except for Daniil Medvedev, who was ousted by an opponent outside of the Top 100.
Medvedev, ranked second in the world, was eliminated by Thiago Seyboth Wild, a qualifier ranked 172nd, in a five-set thriller that lasted for more than four hours on Tuesday.
With Medvedev out, the French Open 2023 odds favour both Carlos Alcaraz (No. 1) and Novak Djokovic (No. 3) to make it far, although the likes of Casper Ruud (No. 4), Stefanos Tsitsipas (No. 5), and Holger Rune (No. 6) will have something to say about that.
On the other hand, Gael Monfils had one of the best performances of his career after returning from a seven-month injury hiatus.
Read on below to learn more about the latest happenings in the ongoing Roland Garros.
Medvedev upbeat despite early exit
Daniil Medvedev became the first second-seeded player to lose in the first round of the Roland Garros since 2000, when Pete Sampras (also not a fan of clay courts) was defeated by Mark Philippoussis.
After losing the opening set, Medvedev won the second and looked to take control when he won the third 6-2 for a two-sets-to-one advantage. However, that didn’t faze Seyboth Wild, as the Brazilian kept it loose throughout the game and eventually won 7-6(5), 6-7(8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Seyboth Wild had a 69-45 edge in total winners, including 47-15 on the forehand side. He hadn’t even played a tour-level main-draw match at all this season, although he has won two ATP Challenger Tour titles already.
“It definitely was the happiest day of my life,” said Seyboth Wild. “I have watched Medvedev 1,000 times already. I just had to believe in myself.”
Despite the early exit, Daniil Medvedev can look back and be satisfied with the fact that he enjoyed a great clay-court campaign. Earlier last week, the 2021 US Open champion won his first title on the surface when he won the Italian Open, beating Holger Rune in the final.
“I am happy to have it finished. I’m happy to go to the next challenges even if, for sure, I wanted to stay longer in Paris, even if it’s clay,” said Medvedev. “I never thought I was going to win a tournament on clay. Next year, I’m going to be even more motivated to try to repeat the success of this year.”
Alcaraz and Djokovic taking care of business
Carlos Alcaraz will be playing as the top seed in a Grand Slam for the first time after he breezed past Flavio Cobolli in a convincing 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 victory. His elite shot-making was key to his dominant performance against the Italian.
Alcaraz improved to 31-3 on the season, and he’ll continue his bid against Taro Daniel after the Japanese beat Christopher O’Connell 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round.
Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, kicked off his bid for a record 23rd Grand Slam on a high note by dispatching Aleksandar Kovacevic 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(1) on Monday.
Kovacevic showed flashes of top performance throughout the two-hour match, but he was unable to match Djokovic’s strong return game and baseline drives. Djokovic had a brief lapse in the final set, but he struck his groundstrokes cleanly and went 37-45 of points behind his first serve.
Because they’re in the same half of the Roland Garros bracket, Alcaraz and Djokovic could meet in the semi-finals. And judging by their initial French Open 2023 results, perhaps SBOTOP tennis fans will see these two top seeds battle it out again.
Monfils had an epic first-round comeback
Gael Monfils lit up Philippe Chatrier with his rousing comeback to defeat Sebastian Baez 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in a match that finished in the wee hours of the morning.
This was Monfils’ first tour-level victory in 294 days since he won over Maxime Cressy in the second round of the Canadian Open last year.
The Frenchman faced 20 break points in the match to go 0-4, 30/40 down in the fifth set, primarily due to cramps, but the 36-year-old dug deep to make a late push.
Gael Monfils clinched the match with a backhand shot that bounced off the net and in, and he let out a big smile after realising he had won the match.
Up next for Monfils is Holger Rune. Monfils may have an 11-4 record in five-setters at Roland Garros, but he would rather have an easier outing against his next opponent.
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