Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka ousted Andy Murray in first-round play at the French Open on Sunday in a matchup of three-time Grand Slam champions in Paris.
Wawrinka defeated Murray, of Great Britain, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in a match that lasted just one hour, 40 minutes. Wawrinka struck nine aces and converted 75 percent (6 of 8) break chances and had 41 winners to just nine for Murray.
Murray is on the comeback trail, attempting to return to the form that saw him hold the No. 1 ranking in the world as recently as August 2017. Derailed by a serious hip injury, he now is No. 111 in the world.
On Sunday, the 33-year-old Murray struggled against Wawrinka, the 16th seed who defeated Novak Djokovic to win the 2015 French Open. Wawrinka won all 12 of his service games, 75 percent of his service points and 62 percent of all points.
In other action, Jannik Sinner of Italy pulled off the day's biggest upset at Roland Garros, eliminating No. 11 seed David Goffin of Belgium. Sinner won 78 percent of his first serves en route to a 7-5, 6-0, 6-3 win. At one point, he won 11 straight games that included five straight service breaks.
"I was playing well from the beginning of the second set," Sinner said. "I felt comfortable on court trying to go with the backhand a little bit more down the line and to open the court a little bit."
Next up for Sinner, the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion, will be French qualifier Benjamin Bonzi, who defeated Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Sinner and Goffin played under the closed roof at Court Philippe Chatrier and weren't exposed to the elements on a damp day that hovered in the high-40s. For John Isner, the No. 21 seed, the conditions helped him in his 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 win over Elliot Benchetrit of France, he said.
In addition to Goffin, another pair of seeded players fell in the first round. Norbert Gombos of Slovakia was a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 winner over No. 24 Borna Coric of Croatia, while Italian Marco Cecchinato defeated No. 25 Alex de Minaur of Australia 7-6 (9), 6-4, 6-0.
Other winners included No. 23 seed Benoit Paire, who converted seven of 18 break points to beat Soon-woo Kwon of South Korea 7-5, 6-4, 6-4; No. 27 Taylor Fritz, who beat Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic 7-5, 7-6 (2), 1-6, 2-6, 6-3; and Kei Nishikori of Japan, a 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3 victor over Dan Evans of Great Britain.
HALEP, GAUFF WIN OPENERS
No. 1 seed Simona Halep fought off two break points in the first set, then cruised to victory in opening-round play at the French Open on Sunday – her 29th birthday.
The Romanian was down 2-4 in the opening set, then reeled off 10 straight game wins to defeat Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-4, 6-0 in one hour, 22 minutes.
"The perfect present was that I won today, of course," Halep said after the match. "It was a really special day playing on Roland Garros on my birthday. So it's going to be pretty unique, maybe forever."
She probably won't play at Roland Garros in September again. The tournament was moved from its May 24 start game to the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Halep and Sorribes Tormo became the first women to play on Court Philippe Chatrier since the addition of a roof, much needed on a raw and rainy day in Paris.
World No. 2 Halep found her groove in the seventh game of first set. She broke Sorribes Tormo's serve – one of her six service breaks on the day – then reeled off four straight points to tie the match at 4-4. Halep repeated the formula in the next two games to win the set.
The match win was Halep's 15th straight on the WTA. She has won the three most recent tournaments she's entered – in Dubai before the coronavirus-forced hiatus, then in Prague and Rome. The 2018 champion, Halep is a three-time finalist at Roland Garros.
In other action, American teenager Coco Gauff cruised past No.9 seed and 2019 French Open semifinalist Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6-3, 6-3.
Gauff, the world's No. 51-ranked player, notched the fourth win over a Top 20 player in her career. The 16-year-old capitalized on five of her 12 break chances.
Gauff will face Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan in the second round. Trevisan beat countrywoman Camila Giorgi when Giorgi retired while trailing 7-5, 3-0.
No. 10 seed Victoria Azarenka, the runner-up at the U.S. Open – defeated Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-1, 6-2 in just 61 minutes of play.
Playing early in the day on Court Suzanne Lenglen, which doesn't have a roof, the women endured a 30-minute rain delay in the first set, but Azarenka's game wasn't impacted. The former World No. 1's biggest challenge came after the third game, when play was halted. The two players were asked to remain courtside, and Azarenka, a Belarus native, walked off the court after consulting with Kovinic and the two deciding they didn't want to wait outdoors in the cold and rain.
Other winners in opening-round play included No. 27 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russian over Maddison Inglis of Australia 6-3, 6-3; No. 16 Elise Mertens of Belgium defeated Margarita Gasparyan of Russia 6-2, 6-3; unseeded Caroline Garcia topped No. 17 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; and No. 20 Maria Sakkari of Greece eliminated Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia 6-0, 7-5.