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Stosur and Kyrgios into round two of French Open

31 May 2017

TENNIS: Sam Stosur and Nick Kyrgios will wave the Australian flag in round two of the 2017 French Open.

Stosur was the first Australian player into the French Open second round, scoring a gritty first-round win over Kristina Kucova.

Sluggish early after a gruelling five-match run to the title in Strasbourg on Saturday against fellow Aussie Daria Gavrilova, Stosur recovered from a service break down in the opening set to see off the Slovak 7-5 6-1 in one hour and 19 minutes.

The former runner-up and four-time semifinalist broke Kucova five times and dropped serve twice, both in the opening set.

But after falling behind 5-4, Stosur showed great foot speed and hands to run down a drop shot and break back with a delightful backhand winner to stay in the set.

She eventually claimed the set on a Kucova error, reeling off five straight games to take a 3-0 lead in the second – and a stranglehold on the match.

“It wasn’t, obviously, the easiest necessarily preparation going into a Grand Slam,” Stosur said of her swift turnaround and one-day Paris build-up.

“But, on the other hand, winning a title and winning five matches in a row is awesome preparation.

“So I guess lucky that Strasbourg is pretty close and we all jumped on the same train together and got here as quickly as we could.

“But it was still definitely a very quick turnaround given the length and the toughness of the match I played against Dasha just on Saturday.

“But all in all, I’m really happy with the way I played today.”

Stosur next faces world no.87 Belgian Kirsten Flipkens – a 6-3 6-3 winner over Mandy Minella – for a place in the last 32, after advancing to the second round in Paris for the 11th consecutive year.

Kyrgios progressed to round two when he eased injury concerns with a routine straight-sets first-round French Open win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

In an impressive open to his campaign, Australia’s 18th seed plundered 20 aces in a 6-3 7-6(4) 6-3 victory over the world No.43.

The 22-year-old had arrived at Roland Garros with questions about his fitness, nursing a chronic hip injury as well as a shoulder niggle on his serving arm.

Kyrgios insists he merely needs rest and displayed no signs of any discomfort in seeing off Kohlschreiber – an experienced campaigner and regular second-week challenger at the majors – in one hour and 51 minutes.

He gained the only break of the opening set in the sixth game, closed out the second set in a tiebreaker with his 14th ace and was generally in cruise control throughout the match.

Holding all 15 of his service games, Kyrgios’s second break of the match, in the fifth game of the third set, was enough to finish Kohlschreiber off.
Kyrgios next plays either big-serving South African Kevin Anderson or Tunisian Malek Jaziri on Thursday for a place in the last 32 in Paris for the third straight year.

In other first round results:

In his first Grand Slam level event since the US Open in 2015, Thanasi Kokkinakis showed promising signs, pushing world No.9 Kei Nishikori in a three-hour battle on Court 1, eventually going down 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4.

Bernard Tomic suffered a 6-4 6-0 6-2 loss to the tournament’s sixth seed, Austrian Dominic Thiem.

Both Jordan Thompson and Ashleigh Barty were eliminated by seeded Americans, beaten by John Isner and Madison Keys respectively.

Thompson was aced 31 times by No.22 seed Isner in a 6-3 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 loss, while Barty had no answers against big-hitting No.12 seed Keys, losing 6-3 6-2.

Seeded for the first time in Paris after a blistering run on European clay, Gavrilova said she needed some time out from tennis after her 7-6(5) 1-6 6-4 loss to world No.60-ranked Belgian Elise Mertens.

The Roland Garros French Open continues tonight with Stosur and Flipkens playing at 7.00pm AEDT followed by Kyrgios and Thompson pairing up to take on the host nation for the men's doubles at 9.45pm.

Tennis Australia/olympics.com.au

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