The Latest: French Open loses 4 seeds on Day 1

May 24, 2015, 11:55 AM

A giant tennis ball is hung under the second floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Saturday, May 23, ...

A giant tennis ball is hung under the second floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Saturday, May 23, 2015 a day prior to the start of the French Tennis Open, at the Roland Garros Stadium. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

(AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS (AP) — 8:22 p.m.

Seeded players, for the most part, earned their crust by living up to expectations on Day 1 of the French Open. Just four of the 17 seeds — two men and two women — in action Sunday failed to advance to the second round.

The last to go out, as the evening light dims, is 26th-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, losing 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (1), 3-6, 6-3 to 56th-ranked Steve Johnson in the first five-set match at this year’s tournament.

Earlier, Marcos Baghdatis put out 25th-seeded Ivo Karlovic in straight sets.

On the women’s side, France’s 31st-seeded Caroline Garcia and Peng Shuai, the 24th seed from China who retired injured in the second set against Polona Hercog, are packing their bags.


7:18 p.m.

Ernests Gulbis offered an apology — accompanied by a hearty laugh — for the delay between the end of his first-round French Open victory and his appearance before the waiting media.

“I didn’t get a win for a long time this year,” the 24th-seeded Gulbis said after beating Igor Sijsling 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3), “so I needed a long massage.”

The 26-year-old from Latvia entered Sunday with a 2-12 record in 2015, including a recent six-match losing streak.

A year ago at Roland Garros, Gulbis reached his first Grand Slam semifinal, beating Roger Federer along the way.


6:56 p.m.

Cheers on center court at the French Open as 14th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, back from a long-problematic right wrist injury, blows away Swedish qualifier Christian Lindell 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

The Frenchman took just 1 hour, 32 minutes to book his place in the second round, winning a whopping 91 percent of points on first serve.


6:07 p.m.

The French Open’s tournament director is giving a Gallic shoulder-shrug about the selfie-seeking fan who approached Roger Federer, saying “there is no reason for us to change the security procedures.”

Although the 2009 champion “has good grounds for being unhappy,” Gilbert Ysern also says: “It’s not the end of the world.”

He said the kid is being barred from the rest of the clay-court major.

And security guards are being reminded “again that clearly nobody is allowed to get on court in any case at any time for any reason.”


5:39 p.m.

Japan’s fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori is off to a better start than at the 2014 French Open, easing through 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 against French wild card Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Carrying an injury, Nishikori disappointed with a first-round exit at the French last year but rebounded by making the U.S. Open final.

Winning a high 79 percent of points on his first serve and hammering down seven aces, Nishikori took 2 hours, 10 minutes to brush Mathieu off the Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Japan started with five men in the French main draw, the most since 1967, when there were six, and the most at any major since Wimbledon in 1973.

Go Soeda’s 6-1, 6-0, 6-2 first-round loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber quickly reduced their ranks to four.


5:04 p.m.

Roger Federer isn’t the only Swiss unhappy with French Open organizers.

Stan Wawrinka is complaining about a “completely stupid article” that he says appeared on the official www.rolandgarros.com tournament website.

Federer’s Davis Cup teammate said he spotted the article Saturday and “I told the tournament that I wasn’t really happy about it.”

The article, which seemingly touched on his private life, has since been taken down.

“It’s the official website of a Grand Slam, so I hope the guy who did that article is not a journalist,” Wawrinka said. “I also hope the guy who is supposed to check all the articles on the website is not working anymore for the tournament.”

The eighth-seeded Wawrinka eased into the second round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory Sunday against 82nd-ranked Marsel Ilhan.


4:25 p.m.

Roger Federer is fuming that a kid got on center court to snap selfies with him at the French Open and is demanding better security.

“This should never happen on the Philippe Chatrier court,” the 2009 French Open champion said. “I’m not happy about it. Obviously not one second I’m happy about it.”

The normally calm Swiss says tournament director Gilbert Ysern quickly apologized. Ysern was also seen speaking to Federer’s wife in the players’ lounge.

The teenage-looking boy ran onto the clay court, put a hand on the 17-time Grand Slam champion’s shoulder and tried to snap photos of them together with his mobile phone. This was as Federer was walking off court from his first-round victory.

“It’s true for all players that you have to feel safe when we play, feel safe on the courts,” Federer said. “It shouldn’t happen too often. It’s happened twice in two days.”

He said several kids also approached him Saturday during practice: “There was one who arrived and then followed by five kids. Nobody reacted in terms of safety, you know, security.”

He spoke scathingly of security guards who took several seconds Sunday to react, with one of them eventually steering the boy away.

“You know, it’s not just being there, standing there on the courts wearing a nice tie and suit. It’s not that funny, you know,” he said. “I hope that there is going to be a reaction from the tournament.”


3:44 p.m.

A selfie-seeking fan’s up-close-and-personal approach of Roger Federer on center court at the French Open raises new questions about player security, an ever-present concern in tennis since the stabbing of Monica Seles in 1993.

Seles was a teenager and ranked No. 1 when obsessed fan Guenter Parche plunged a kitchen knife into her back as she sat on a bench during a changeover at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany.

Parche said he didn’t want to kill Seles, only disable her long enough for German rival Steffi Graf to regain the No. 1 ranking. Graf soon assumed the top ranking.

The attack put Seles out of competition for over two years.

Sunday’s incident wasn’t Federer’s first encounter with a French Open intruder. During the second set of the 2009 final, a man jumped over the photographer’s pit, went right up to Swiss and tried to put a red hat on him. Federer brushed him aside before security guards got close enough to intervene. After hopping the net, the man was tackled and jailed for questioning.

No comment yet from tournament organizers on the latest incident.


3:30 p.m.

Ivo Karlovic is the first seeded man to exit from the French Open. The big server, seeded 25th, hit 21 aces in losing 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 to Marcos Baghdatis on Court 7.

Baghdatis, runner-up at the 2006 Australian Open, next plays Damir Dzumhir in the second round.


3:10 p.m.

Surely, this was pushing the selfie craze too far.

A kid ran down from the stands and across center court at Roland Garros to get a selfie with Roger Federer after the 17-time Grand Slam champion’s first-round victory against Alejandro Falla.

The boy, as casual as can be, put his hand across Federer’s shoulder as the tennis great was walking off court with his kit bag, and tried to snap several shots of the two of them together with his mobile phone.

Clearly very uncomfortable, the 2009 champion gently rebuffed the boy, stepped back and glanced over questioningly at security guards for help. After a delay of several seconds, one of them grasped the boy around the waist and steered him away.

The kid then went back the way he came, strolling back across court to the seats.


2:43 p.m.

Roger Federer is beaming after his straightforward 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 first-round win against Alejandro Falla, a Colombian who entered the main draw as a lucky loser from qualifying.

Facing a player who pushed him to five sets at Wimbledon five years ago, the 2009 Roland Garros champion was never threatened, extending his unbeaten run against the 111th-ranked Falla to 8-0, serving eight aces.

“I love coming here,” Federer said. “I wasn’t broken. I’m happy.”

In the third set, Falla called for a medical timeout, getting some deep massage on his right thigh.

Sticking out like a sore thumb in ultra-pink shorts (is that color even legal?), Federer paced around the court to stay limber during the break.

Falla lost the last two games and the match.


2:01 p.m.

Once bitten, twice shy. Third-seeded Simona Halep, the losing women’s French Open finalist last year, has good reason to be wary of her next opponent, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. The 70th-ranked Croatian beat Halep in straight sets in the U.S. Open third round last year.

“I have not good memories from that match,” Halep recalled after her first-round 7-5, 6-4 victory on Sunday at Roland Garros against Evgenia Rodina. “I just was blocked and I couldn’t hit the ball.”

Lucic-Baroni advanced to the second round by beating Lauren Davis, a 64th-ranked American, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.


12:45 p.m.

Last year’s losing women’s finalist, Simona Halep, is safely through to the second round, closing out a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Russian Evegenia Rodina with an ace.

The third-seeded Romanian, dressed all in black, celebrated with a fist pump.

Roger Federer is up next on center court. The winner of a record 17 Grand Slam titles got a standing ovation as he stepped onto Court Philippe Chatrier, acknowledging the applause, shrieks and whistles with a quick wave of his right hand.

Federer is wearing an outfit Andre Agassi would approve of: day-glo pink shorts with purple stripes down the sides and a purple shirt.

His first-round opponent is Alejandro Falla. The Colombian, into the main draw as a lucky loser, pushed Federer to five sets in the first round at Wimbledon in 2010.


12:19 p.m.

The first match-winner this year is Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, in the men’s draw. He was up two sets against Mikhail Youzhny when the Russian retired at the start of the third. Youzhny was a quarterfinalist in 2010.

On the women’s side, the first winner is Teliana Pereira. The Brazilian qualifier chomped through Fiona Ferro, a 326th-ranked French wild card, in 65 minutes, winning 6-3, 6-2.


11:57 a.m.

Out on Court 2, Philipp Kohlschreiber, seeded 22nd, has torn through his first set against Japan’s Go Soeda, winning 6-1. Kohlschreiber (aged 31) and Soeda (30) are among 39 men aged 30 or over in the Roland Garros main draw. That is a Grand Slam record.

Another veteran, 32-year-old Mikhail Youzhny, is off to a bad start on Court 6, losing his first set 6-2 against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur.

The most golden of oldies, 33-year-old Roger Federer, follows Simona Halep on center court. Last year’s losing women’s finalist is up against Evgenia Rodina, winning the first set 7-5.


10:52 a.m.

Here we go again. On a sunny Sunday morning, play is about to start at the French Open, as grounds crews finish watering the center court.

The weather forecasts are excellent, with temperatures expected to reach 22 degrees Celsius (72 F) in the afternoon.

Last year’s runner-up Simona Halep will open play on Center Court. The third-seeded Romanian player is taking on Russian Evgenia Rodina before Roger Federer starts his bid for an 18th Grand Slam title against lucky loser Alejandro Falla.

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The Latest: French Open loses 4 seeds on Day 1