With Simona Halep—the clear favorite on the women’s side—falling in the fourth round and world No. 3 Dominic Thiem being forced to go the distance, the second week of Roland Garros is off to a wild start.
Or it could just be a continuation of the topsy-turvy action from Week 1.
Here’s a look back at just some of the events on-court and off—including up in the sky—that took place during the opening days at Roland Garros. (Photos: Getty Images)
The Comeback Kids
If Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas would have lost their opening-round matches to lower-ranked opponents, it actually wouldn’t have been too much of a surprise. After all, the two were coming off a three-set battle against each other in the Hamburg final, 48 hours before their Paris first-rounders. Both Rublev and Tsitsipas started off slowly out the gate against Sam Querrey and Jaume Munar, respectively, eventually going down two sets to love. Instead of packing it in, though, both players rallied from the brink and have been going strong right into a quarterfinal clash against each other.
One and Done for Serena
Even at the age of 39, whenever Serena Williams enters a tournament, she’s going to be considered among the favorites. After a solid performance against Kristie Ahn in the first round, it appeared as if she was ready to settle into the year’s third major. Unfortunately, the Achilles injury she developed at the US Open flared up and she was forced to withdraw from the tournament, leaving her still one shy of owning the outright record for most singles majors.
Layers for the Players
Roland Garros in September was always going to be a different affair than when it’s contested during its usual place on the schedule, mainly due to the weather. In other words, it’s going to be cold and damp, and the somewhat-extreme conditions would only add to the challenge of trying to win a Grand Slam. Players are bundled up and battling through, though, but it’s no easy feat, by any means.
There Goes the Boom
Out of all the things you would least expect to happen when playing an early-round match, the sound of a loud explosion in the distance has to top that list. That’s something the players on court early in the week had to deal with when a zooming jet broke the sound barrier. Thankfully, it was just that and nothing more serious.
Don’t Forget the Upsets
It’ll probably be some time before Daniil Medvedev is considered a true threat at Roland Garros given his track record at the tournament. Still, his opening-round loss to Marton Fucsovics was somewhat of a surprise. Gael Monfils, the No. 8 seed and home favorite, was also a first-round casualty, falling to Alexander Bublik. Perhaps the unluckiest seed to fall in either draw was Karolina Pliskova: The No. 2 seed faced 2017 champ Jelena Ostapenko—arguably the tournament’s most dangerous floater—in the second round and went down in straight sets.
Tech Support Needed?
Some questionable calls have led to an increased demand for some kind of electronic assistance to be implemented for judging in-or-out balls in Paris. It’s tricky, because the general consensus has been that Hawk-Eye is unreliable on clay. The players might be willing to take a chance with it, though.
The “Open” French Open
Multiple qualifiers in both draws, like Sebastian Korda and Martina Trevisan, made a significant impact on the tournament over the first week. Clearly, the extra three matches played helped in adapting to the conditions, allowing them to post upsets over players who weren’t grinding it out on the terre battue a week earlier.
Some of the Favorites Are in Good Shape, Though
On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal appear to be on a collision course. Whomever is the last man standing will have run through a gauntlet during his last few matches, and will surely be thankful the first week was uneventful.