PARIS (AP) — 3:17 p.m.
And then there was one.
Of the five Japanese men who started the French Open first round, the most since 1967, only fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori will play in the second round.
Go Soeda tumbled out first on Day 1, followed on Day 2 by Yoshihito Nishioka, Tatsuma Ito and Taro Daniel, all out in straight sets.
When a picture is worth 100 words. Associated Press photographer Christophe Ena captured every sinew of Alize Cornet’s delight during her first win, in five attempts, against Italy’s Roberta Vinci, going through 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to the French Open second round.
After the first set, “I told myself, ‘Oh la la. I’m going to fail yet again,'” the 29th-seeded Frenchwoman told the partisan home crowd on center court that roared her on.
“A super victory for me.”
And a super photo from Christophe, clickable here: http://tinyurl.com/pjn9n29
Feliciano Lopez of Spain, seeded 11th, is the highest seeded man to tumble so far, losing 6-3, 7-6 (9), 6-3 in the first round to 74th-ranked Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia.
That was quick.
The Grand Slam debut of 17-year-old Frances Tiafoe, the youngest man at this French Open, lasted just 1 hour, 40 minutes.
The first 17-year-old American man at the French since Michael Chang won the title in 1989, Tiafoe crumbled 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 against 36th-ranked Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
Tiafoe, from College Park, Maryland, earned a wild card from the U.S. Tennis Association for the main draw, a year after playing in the French Open junior tournament.
His first-round match was played on tiny Court 5 — seating capacity 379.
Hardly the big time.
Fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych is through to the second round with a 6-0, 7-5, 6-3 win over Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka.
Against a player looking for a first-ever win on clay at a big tournament, Berdych overwhelmed Nishioka with powerful groundstrokes, sealing the first set in 27 minutes.
The Japanese teenager offered better resistance in the second set but wilted in the 12th game when Berdych applied more pressure with a series of good returns and broke with a backhand down the line that Nishioka returned wide.
Another break in the third set was enough for Berdych to improve his record on the Parisian clay to 18-11.
The eighth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, who looms as a potentially tricky quarterfinal opponent for defending champion Maria Sharapova if they both get that far, made light work of her first-round 6-2, 6-2 victory against Monica Niculescu, a 67th-ranked Romanian.
Suarez Navarro, from Spain, was a quarterfinalist both last year and on her French Open debut in 2008. She made the day for a few kids in the crowd, stopping on her way back to the locker room to autograph their giant tennis balls.
Meanwhile, on center court, the home crowd is roaring for 29th-seeded Alize Cornet as the Frenchwoman wins the second set 6-4 to even up her first-round match against Roberta Vinci, who took the first set 6-4.
Cross fingers, the threat of rain appears to be receding, with bright sunlight and patches of blue sky poking through the dense clouds.
Sabine Lisicki, runner-up at Wimbledon in 2013, makes a strong start at the only major where she’s never reached at least the fourth round, barely working up a sweat in a 6-3, 6-2 beating of 86th-ranked Monica Puig.
The German, seeded 20th, served out the first-round match with an ace. The expedited 66-minute victory leaves her plenty of time to relax back at the rented apartment she showed off here on her Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/sabinelisicki/status/602420477101998080
Spotted in the alleys of the French Open: Patrick Mouratoglou, coach of 19-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams, perched precariously on a concrete post, racket in the air, striking a warrior’s pose for a French newspaper photographer.
Our AP Sports Writer Samuel Petrequin caught the moment here: https://twitter.com/sampetrequin/status/602765901914595328/photo/1
The tennis equivalent of breakfast, lunch, dinner and plenty of snacking in between on Day 2 of the French Open, with a whopping 57 first-round singles matches spread across 15 courts filling with expectant crowds. In short, a quick-moving feast of bright yellow balls, blood-red clay and no shortage of tennis drama.
The big question: will rain hold off? Skies over Roland Garros on what is a national holiday for many French are thick with menacing dark clouds. Cloying dampness in the air could make for heavy and tiring playing conditions.
Andy Murray, Venus Williams and defending women’s champion Maria Sharapova are among big names in action. Frances Tiafoe, at age 17 the youngest man here, flies the flag for tennis’ next generation of potential stars. The oldest man in the draw, 36-year-old Radek Stepanek, is first out on Court 14, against 119th-ranked Ivan Dodig.