Third-seeded Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka made a shocking, listless exit from the French Open on Monday at the hands of Spanish journeyman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
The Swiss athlete, bidding to become the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win the French Open in the same year as the Australian title, lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
The 29-year-old produced a woeful 61 unforced errors as Garcia-Lopez, the world No. 41, booked a second round match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
“It was just terrible,” said Wawrinka. “It was not a good match. I need to take a few days off and see what will happen. Sometimes you need a tough loss to see where you are going.”
Wawrinka admitted that the pressure of being a Grand Slam champion is weighing heavily on him.
“I need to find the pieces, how to be happy, how to win matches.”
Wawrinka, a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros in 2013 and tipped as a possible title contender after winning the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters crown last month, was the second top-10 seed to lose at a rain-hit Monday.
Japanese ninth seed Kei Nishikori had earlier lost 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-2 to Slovakia’s Martin Klizan.
There were no such problems for Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova, who all shrugged off the Paris gloom.
Eight-time champion Nadal, bidding to become the first man to win five Roland Garros titles in a row, beat U.S. wild card and world No. 279 Robby Ginepri 6-0, 6-3, 6-0.
It was Nadal’s 60th win at the French Open against just one loss.
World No. 1 Nadal kicked off his campaign on the secondary Suzanne Lenglen court while title rivals Djokovic and Wawrinka were handed top billing on the main Philippe Chatrier arena.
But it was still business as usual for Nadal, who fired 27 winners past Ginepri, a semi-finalist at the 2005 U.S. Open whose challenge was undone by 41 unforced errors.
“It doesn’t matter where I play,” said Nadal who next faces highly-rated Dominic Thiem of Austria.
“It’s always a pleasure and an honour to play at Roland Garros, on Chatrier, Lenglen or any other court. This place has given me unforgettable emotions.”
Second seed Djokovic, the 2012 runner-up who is seeking a first Roland Garros title to complete a career Grand Slam, brushed aside Portugal’s Joao Sousa, the world No. 42, in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Djokovic, widely regarded as the favourite to dethrone Nadal, having beaten the Spaniard in Rome two weeks ago, next faces French hope Jeremy Chardy.
“I played for most of the match quite solid. The end of the match was not so nice from my side because I dropped my serve twice,” said Djokovic.
Sharapova, seeded seven and the 2012 champion, needed just over an hour to beat fellow Russian, Ksenia Pervak, the world’s 156th-ranked player, 6-1, 6-2.
The 27-year-old will next face Bulgaria’s 2010 Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova.
“First matches at Grand Slams are always tough, no matter how prepared you are, no matter how many matches you’ve played,” said Sharapova, now 13-1 on clay in 2014 with titles in Stuttgart and Madrid.
Nishikori, 24, coached by 1989 champion Michael Chang, was the first Japanese man in 75 years to make the fourth round in Paris in 2013.
But the world No. 10 was still bothered by the back injury he suffered in the Madrid Masters final against Nadal and was broken 10 times by Klizan. He also hit 10 double faults and committed 40 unforced errors
Left-handed Klizan, 24, one of six former junior champions in the main draw, goes on to face Robin Haase of the Netherlands.
“It sucks,” said Nishikori.
Monday’s action also witnessed the first marathon of the French Open with Argentine qualifier Facundo Bagnis marking his Grand Slam debut by seeing off Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-1, 6-2, 1-6, 3-6, 18-16 in four and a half hours.
Other top men’s players going through were Italian 14th seed Fabio Fognini, Tommy Robredo, the 17th seed from Spain, as well as colourful 18th-seeded Latvian Ernests Gulbis.
In the women’s first round, Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova, a semi-finalist in 2012, defeated Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-2, while Dominika Cibulkova, the Slovak ninth seed, beat France’s Virginie Razzano 7-5, 6-0
Australian 18th seed Samantha Stosur, the runner-up in 2010, eased past Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig 6-1, 6-1 despite having had five stitches in a gashed leg.
America’s Taylor Townsend, meanwhile, came from 1-5 down to beat compatriot Vania King 7-5, 6-1.
Also going through was Austria’s Tamira Paszek, whose 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) win over Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck was her first at Roland Garros for seven years.
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