Gianni Mina is a Frenchman who bears no relationship with the Italian fashion icon, except a common first name but he was at the receiving end of a lesson from the man who is the undisputed King of Clay, about what it takes to earn the royal stripes.
Henin got a mild workout, assisted by plenty of bright sparks from her young opponent, and a mixed performance from herself on court. Henin eventually prevailed 6-4, 6-3 in 89 minutes, the scoreline doing little justice to the courage ofÂ Pironkova.
All these years later Andy Murray has repaid the French in the same coin, raising from the Parisienne red dirt despite being two sets and a break down against Frenchman Richard Gasquet, to emerge triumphant 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in a bitterly fought battle that lasted over four hours.
Defending champion Roger Federer started his campaign with a stylish win over Peter Luczak, often toying with his opponent as he mixed up deep, powerful ground strokes with feather like touches - the ball barely bouncing a few inches behind the net.
French Open Women's Wrap: Serena scrapes through to 2nd Round; Wozniacki, Dementieva, Jankovic have it easy
Serena Williams opened her French Open campaign with a patchy 7-6, 6-2 win over French Open debutant Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland. Serena, who is looking to end America's long title drought at Roland Garros played nowhere near the level of her best tennis and had to go through some anxious moments against the plucky Swiss before advancing to the second round. On her part Voegele played some extremely smart tennis in the first set but was completely over powered by her more experienced and prolific opponent.
Serena summed up the day perfectly in her post match press conference, "I definitely didn't feel good about it. At least I won. I think I'm still in the tournament; that's what matters."
The historic wars between Britain and France were recreated on a tennis court at Roland Garros as Andy Murray and Richard Gasquet battled each other for more than 4 hours before the Briton Murray made a superlative come back from 2 sets down to win 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 and advance to the 2nd round.
The match was a welcome break from the regular display of power tennis and had a bit of everything - extraordinary winners, subtle touch, two brilliant movers on a tennis court and great serving under pressure. If the Frenchman made backhand winners at will, from impossible positions, Murray matched that with beautifully disguised drop shots and lobs. The difference in the end proved to be the Scot's better fitness levels, as a tiring Gasquet failed to put up a fight in the final two sets.
The Scot said as much in his post match presser "Yeah, it was tough. You know, it's important to try as much as possible not to show how you're feeling. You know, it was a four-hour match for me as well, so it was long and tough and mentally pretty draining after, you know, being two sets to love down. Just managed to come back in the end by fighting hard and believing".
Luczak has never gone past the first round at Roland Garros and coming up against Roger Federer made it virtually impossible to look past the first round this year too. And that was precisely how it panned out. After weathering some early resistance from the Aussie, Roger Federer pulled out a whole bunch of tricks from his bag to race through to the second round 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
The Swiss master made a perfect start to the match winning the first game to love after firing three consecutive aces. The Australian was under pressure right from his first service game, facing a first break point in it, but came up with two good serves to get out of the sticky spot. In the next seven games that followed, both players held serve, Federer with consummate ease, while Luczak struggled, having to come up with good serves to bail him out of a number of difficult situations.
While women's 2nd seed Venus Williams made easy progress to the second round, the surprise of the day was the shocking first round defeat of Ernests Gulbis who has promised so much in recent weeks. Gulbis was victim to some superlative play from an inspired Frenchman before he was forced to retire from the match due to a thigh injury.
- Somdev goes down fighting in First Round of French Open
- French Open loses its first seed, Dulko dumps Azarenka out
- Kuznetsova opens French Open defense with easy win
- French Open 2010: Women's Draw Analysis
- French Open 2010: Men's Draw Analysis
- Ivo Karlovic withdraws from the French Open; Federer practices in Paris
- Sania Mirza joins Clijsters and Del Potro as withdrawals hit the French Open
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