Young guns Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev dug deep to score remarkable comebacks in their respective first-round matches at a rainy Roland Garros on Tuesday.
Tsitsipas and Rublev, who had competed in the Hamburg Open final on Sunday, fought back from two sets down for the first time in their careers to enter the second round of the French Open.
While the Greek overcame Spain’s Jaume Munar 4-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 12 minutes, Rublev needed five more minutes to script an incredible 6-7(5), 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Sam Querrey.
“Playing a best-of-five (match) can be very challenging and I am really happy that I will walk away from (Court) Suzanne-Lenglen today with a win,” said the No 5 seed Tsitsipas, whose 2019 Roland Garros had ended in heartbreak as he lost a five-hour, nine-minute five setter against Stan Wawrinka.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played a match like this before,” said the 22-year-old. “The emotions and the nerves at the very beginning were not there, but (I made) slight adjustments and tried to find a way to win, a different way.
“It wasn’t working out for me in the beginning. Nothing was working… But I am really proud of myself, the effort I put in and the amount of dedication.”
Tsitsipas will meet Pablo Cuevas for a spot in the third round.
— Andrey Rublev (@AndreyRublev97) September 30, 2020
Rublev, meanwhile, had a tall task as he took on the 6’6 Querrey in the opening round. The 22-year-old Russian was playing only his second main draw match at the clay-court Grand Slam and it looked like he would be exiting without leaving a mark as the American opened up big leads in the first three sets.
He fought back from 2-5 down in the third set as Querrey struggled with his serve, winning five games in a row to clinch it 7-5.
He broke in the third game of the fourth set and dropped only four points on his serve. Having served out the set at love, the Russian got another early break in the decider and then grew in confidence.
Rublev completed a memorable victory by scrambling up a drop shot and flicking a forehand crosscourt for a winner as Querrey stranded at the net. While the American hit 80 winners, he also had a high unforced error count at 62. Rublev muscled 64 winners and made only 20 unforced errors.
The Russian will take on Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round.