2022 French Open: Day 1 Report

This is the first of four posts from my trip to Paris and Roland Garros. It was my first time at the tournament since 2015 and it was third time lucky as we had planned to go in 2020 before the pandemic struck. Post one is a report from day one where we had tickets for Court Philippe-Chatrier. I enjoy writing these posts and jotting down memories so that I can look back in years to come when i’ve forgotten everything that happened! Hopefully it’s an informative read โ˜บ.

Day 1 Matches ๐ŸŽพ

Magda Linette d. Ons Jabeur, 3-6 7-6(4) 7-5 (Court Philippe-Chatrier)

Opening up Chatrier to start RG22 felt like a big moment for Jabeur who had been one of the in-form players during this clay court season. For a set and a half, I thought she handled the occasion admirably. Unfortunately for Ons it didn’t end well as this first match of our trip developed into a nailbiter and a noteworthy upset win for Linette.

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Jabeur was the better player for the first set and a half and she found the big first serve to get out of some sticky situations. The match took a turn when Jabeur was unable to take one of three break point opportunities at 4-4 in the second set that, had she converted, would have given her the opportunity to serve for the match.

Linette improved as the match wore on and increasingly began to dictate the rallies and exert pressure on return. I’d been bigging up Ons’s drop shot to my bro and work pal (who I went to RG with) but it was actually Linette who out-drop shoted Jabeur in this match.

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It was a huge moment for Magda but I was gutted for Ons to go out on day one and so early when the tournament had barely got started. I’d love to see Ons have a deep run at Wimbledon.ย  As always, it was a pretty muted crowd to begin with on Chatrier but it soon filled up. It was great to see so many Ons fans and Tunisian flags around the court. There was a moment where a steward appeared to ask a fan in front of us to put it away (I think they are banned?). I didn’t understand the conversation but they kept on waving their flag!

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Karolina Muchova d. Carole Monnet, 6-3 6-3 (Court 7)

After Jabeur-Linette, we headed straight to court 7 for Muchova-Monnet and managed to get in in between the first and second sets after waiting for about ten minutes. This was my first ever live experience of watching Muchova who is one of my favourite players to watch. Definitely the highlight of the day!

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It was a straight sets win but there were some tricky moments for Muchova. I really admired Monnet’s attitude and work ethic. So much effort and intensity went into every shot. Monnet was peaking at the start of the second set and she was clearly buoyed by the home support.

Muchova was much more calm and controlled, and after going down a break in the second set, there was a noticeable gear change. Muchova began to play more aggressively combined with her trademark variety and flair. There were a handful of genius touches at the net. Ultimately, Muchova’s class shone through in the end. It was a well-contested match and Muchova was quick to heap praise on Monnet at the end in what was a warm exchange at the net.

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I’m so pleased to have finally seen Muchova live! Her game is gorgeous to watch. On court 7, you feel sooo close to the action and the clay looked beautiful โค. I think i’ve said this before on the blog but if Muchova can stay healthy, she’s top 10, top 5 and higher IMO.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime d. Juan Pablo Varillas, 2-6 2-6 6-1 6-3 6-3 (Court Philippe-Chatrier)

We went back to Chatrier with Auger-Aliassime down two sets. With respect, I couldn’t believe Varillas had won the first two sets from what we saw. This was an absolute stinker! The quality was dreadful from both in the third and fourth sets, improving slightly in the decider. Best of five is such a bore…

I guess in the end it was a good win for FAA considering he was two sets down. A win is a win. He improved with every set and was beginning to crunch his forehand in the decider.

Nothing more to add!

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Carlos Alcaraz d. Juan Ignacio Londero, 6-4 6-2 6-0 (Court Philippe-Chatrier)

On the men’s side, the one player I really wanted to see was Carlos Alcaraz so I was very happy with the schedule! Alcaraz received a warm ovation when he came out on court.

The first set was much more competitive than I was expecting. Alcaraz, who hadn’t played since winning Madrid, was definitely rusty. Londero was matching him from the baseline. Unfortunately Londero broke himself serving to stay in the first set at *4-5 with a double fault and some unforced errors. The same happened again midway through the second set.

We called it a day with Alcaraz leading 6-4 5-2. Londero didn’t win another game so we felt validated with our decision to leave! Nice to see Carlos live with just the odd flash of what he is capable of.

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Practices ๐ŸŽพ

My first player sighting of RG22 was Garbiรฑe Muguruza on Court 2. Muguruza was with Conchita Martinez and a hitting partner. Something didn’t feel right and Mugu didn’t look particularly happy. There were some tense words with Conchita. I was surprised later when I saw Muguruza leading by a set and a break in her first round match against Kanepi. Not so surprised when I learnt that Kanepi came back to win, 2-6 6-3 6-4. That’s now three losses in a row from a set and a break up ๐Ÿ˜”.

After watching Auger-Aliassime win, we wandered the grounds and saw Caty McNally and Anna Kalinskaya beginning a practice together on court 10. Over on court 5, Bopanna and Middlekoop were ripping the ball as they warmed up for what looked liked a practice set with another doubles pair. I remember having a strong desire to wanting to get on the court and play!

On Court 3, Oksana Selekhmeteva had a long practice session with her coach in front of just a few people. It was a nice spot to chill with the view of Chatrier in the background and also to catch up on the football results from the final day of the Premier League season.

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The bro and I are always in competition to rack up as many FPAs (famous person alert) when walking around the grounds. Sunday’s top spot was a random one. We watched a few games of Botic Van de Zandschlup against Pavel Kotov on court 12 when I noticed we were stood next to Alison Hughes, the British umpire. I just remember at one point that Alison gave my brother this real glare ๐Ÿ˜‚. I wish I could remember exactly what he had said at the time!

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Fan moan ๐Ÿคฌ

Any chance to have a moan… today’s fan moan was during the Alcaraz-Londero match. There was this one guy who spent the entire time taking photos, sitting forward and putting the camera high up, blocking our view. He then kept wandering down the steps and standing on the concourse where people enter the court to take pictures during play. One time he came back to his seat and blocked our view during set point in the first set ๐Ÿ˜‚.

New player alerts ๐Ÿ””

My quest is always to photograph players for the first time. I’m way behind after the past two years so there were lots of players to tick off. Only three on day 1 and not two that I had planned but Muchova was a long overdue one to tick off my list.

Karolina Muchova โœ…

Oksana Selekhmeteva โœ…

Carole Monnet โœ…

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Snap of the day ๐Ÿ“ธ

I liked this shot of air Ons.

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Day 1 album ๐Ÿ“š

An album of photos from day 1 at Roland Garros can be found on the MTB Facebook page.

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