Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem got his French Open campaign off to a quickfire start on Sunday, beating an out-of-sorts Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-0 6-2 as he embarked on a bid to go one round better than he did last year.
After a tight first set, the 39th-ranked Australian won just two more games as, looking to keep the points short on a hot and fast Court Suzanne Lenglen, he sprayed the ball long and wide in his quest for winners.
In all he made 33 unforced errors to Thiem’s 10, while the ace count was 11 to three in the Austrian’s favor.
“I am happy I had a good start,” Thiem said courtside after the match, though in truth he might have preferred a tougher workout in keeping with his ambitions for the tournament.
Speaking before Sunday’s match Thiem, a semi-finalist in 2016, put himself in the category of “players who can go very deep here (and) …make big surprises” behind clear favorite Rafa Nadal.
The Austrian and the Spaniard have met three times so far in 2017, including the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters, where 23-year-old Thiem became the only player to beat Nadal on clay this season.
The story is different in the women’s category as World number one Angelique Kerber’s was dumped out of the French Open 6-2 6-2 by 40th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova.
The German became the first top seeded woman to lose in the opening round of the French Open since the sport turned professional in 1968 — and the disparity between the players in her Russian opponent’s favor was as wide as the scoreline suggests.
Cutting a troubled figure on court a world away from the feisty baseliner who last season battled her way to two grand slam titles, Kerber lacked the pace and power to trouble her fellow left-hander.
Kerber, 29, has struggled this year, withdrawing from the Madrid Open with a thigh injury and going down in straight sets to qualifier Anna Kontaveit in Rome.
But Sunday’s setback – albeit on a surface for which she has no great affection, having made an opening-round exit in Paris last year – threatens to leave her season in tatters.
That picture offers the starkest of contrasts with a spectacular 2016 that also brought her major wins in the Australian and U.S. Opens.
While Kerber is out of contention, 15th-seed Petra Kvitova defeated American Julia Boserup 6-3 6-2 on her much-awaited return to competition five months after being stabbed during a burglary.
The 27-year-old Czech dominated the match from the opening exchanges, breaking Boserup’s serve twice to claim the opening set.
Boserup, who was making her third grand slam appearance, failed to match Kvitova’s powerful groundstrokes and conceded the match that lasted an hour and 14 minutes.