Paris | Day One sees Evans beaten while Tsitsipas just avoids a similar fate

On a busy opening day of the French Open, Britain’s No.2 suffered an embarrassing loss as he became one of the first seeds to fall at the French Open as he continues the poor run of results he is gathering this season.

It's shocking right now how I played. It's disappointing. I thought I was in a good spot coming in, but I felt like that the whole time. It's not good enough. Dan Evans

Seeded 20, he lost 6-4 6-4 6-4 to Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis and was joined in the exit lane by Ben Shelton, the American 30th seed, who was defeated by Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-3.

Evans was certainly expected to defeat the Australian wild card and was well on the way to establishing himself on the match when he allowed himself to be distracted by a foot-fault, triggering a heated discussion with the umpire which resulted in a code violation after throwing down both his racket and water bottle.

He wasn’t able to recover his focus and later confirmed that it had been behind his defeat as it had preyed on his mind throughout the match.

“It just totally threw me where I was then serving from,” he said on Eurosport. “My technique sort of got thrown out. It was difficult from then on.

“I sort of lost all trust in where my feet were. It’s a very minor thing, but it became a pretty big thing in my head. It was then difficult to get away from that, especially on second serve because I just didn’t feel I knew where I was on the court.

“It’s strange. If they’re going to call that foot fault, it shouldn’t be from 35 metres away, from fence to fence through a net. But, again, that’s not the reason I lost, but I was right in the match at that point. But they find a way of getting involved. Whoever it is up in the chair, they find a way, and they’re good at it. They get involved plenty.

“Again, that’s not anywhere near the reason why I lost. I was bottom drawer from start to finish, and he was decent.”

And as intimated with regard to his own overall game, he was equally condemning.

“I’ve got to get my game in a spot where I’m able to compete at this level. I’ve been very poor in the big tournaments this year.

“[I had an] incredibly kind draw in Australia [at the Australian Open, where he reached the third round] and came through a few matches, but I’ve been poor in the Masters, the one good tournament this year.

“I said the other day there’s some soul-searching. There will be plenty of that in Saint-Cloud tonight, wherever I am. [I’ve] got to get on and try and get my game in a good spot.

“It’s shocking right now how I played. It’s disappointing. I thought I was in a good spot coming in, but I felt like that the whole time. It’s not good enough.”

He will certainly be looking forward to the tour switching to grass in a few weeks’ time where he should undoubtedly improve on the eight wins he has scored so far this season.

Stefanos Tsitsipas was fully extended in his opening match

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The loss is a great disappointment to British fans with only three of their home players making an appearance this year at Roland Garros where the fifth seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas nearly became the highest seed to fall but eventually he succeeded in overcoming the Czech Jiri Vesely 7-5 6-3 4-6 7-6(7).

Vesely, playing his first ATP level event since the US Open due to a hamstring problem, led the Greek star 6-3 in the fourth set breaker only to see his seeded opponent storm back by winning the next six of the last seven points to snatch the victory.

“I started serving and I started thinking, OK, I might come to the net after the serve or I might approach after the first return,” Tsitsipas said following his close call. “Automatically everything started shifting more towards forward instead of let’s play the rally or let me wait for the shot to come to me.

“Psychologically, it created a spark… I felt like he started feeling the pressure a little bit more. His serves were not as accurate towards the end, which of course I’m happy with because it gave me the chance to start a few rallies and finally play more than three or four shots. That was it.”

Andrey Rublev opens his campaign comfortably

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Also though is the seventh seed Russian Andrey Rublev, the Monte Carlo champion who advanced past Serbia’s Laslo Djere 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-4 while his compatriot Karen Khachanov, seeded 11, spoiled the 31-year-old Frenchman Constant Lestienne’s main draw debut in Paris with a 3-6 1-6 6-2 6-1 6-3 defeat. Lestienne did have a 2-0 lead in the fifth, but the Russian proved too strong for him.

In other action Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz won a thriller over Belgium’s David Goffin 6-3 5-7 6-4 2-6 6-4 while Portugal’s Nuno Borges watched 38 aces fly past him as the 38-year-old American John Isner eventually powered to a 6-4 5-7 7-6(3) 4-6 7-6 [9] victory, recovering from 4-8 in the tiebreaker.

Australia’s Jason Kubler toppled the Argentine Lucky Loser, Facundo Diaz Acosta 1-6 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-1 and Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor had to fight off Pedro Martinez of Spain 6-4 2-6 0-6 7-5 6-3.

Also on opening day, No.17 seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy eased past Sweden’s Mikael Ymer 7-5 6-2 6-4 and the No.24 seed Sebastian Korda of the US, defeated countryman Mackenzie McDonald 6-4 7-5 6-4.

French No. 1 Ugo Humbert overcame compatriot Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-3 6-1 for his first win at Roland Garros and French favourite Lucas Pouille, a qualifier, defeated Jurij Rodionov of Austria 6-2 6-4 6-3.

On Monday, ticket holders will have the chance to see the two title favourites in action, Carlos Alacaraz the top seed, and Novak Djokovic, chasing his third title at Roland Garros.

Sapin’s 20=year-old Alcaraz takes on 21-year-old Italian Flavio Cobollia a qualifier while Serbia’s Djokovic meets American Aleksandar Kovacevic.

Also, the eighth seeded Italian, Jannik Sinner will meet the Frenchman Alexandre Muller in the first night session while Britain’s No.1 Cameron Norrie, seeded 14, meets Benoit Paire of France on Court Suzanne Lenglen while Jack Draper takes on Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry out on Court 9.



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