Women save Australia from embarrassment at Roland-Garros
Disappointing, but not surprising
It’s been a trying couple of days at the French Open for Australia, with several early departures an ominous foreshadowing that this year’s Roland Garros will be the same old story for Australian tennis.
Following Nick Kyrgios’ withdrawal from the second slam of the calendar year, many hoped that some of Australia’s more maligned and less known stars might step up to the challenge of carrying the flag, as it were.
With Bernard Tomic, Jordan Thompson, John Millman, James Duckworth, Matt Ebden and Alex de Minaur all succumbing to first round losses, that hope has quickly been crushed.
The current situation is not an unfamiliar one; no Australian male progressed further than Round 1 at Wimbledon 2017, but familiarity does not negate disappointment.
“I was disappointed with the way I played,” Millman said. “Denis is obviously very talented and he went up a level.
“I think I could have played better.”
Millman was beaten 7-5 6-4 6-2 by Canadian talent Denis Shapovalov, the 24th seed.
Women carry the flag in Paris
In lieu of compelling performances by the nation’s male representatives, the women stepped up to provide some scintillating tennis and, at least for the meanwhile, maintain public interest down under.
2010 finalist Sam Stosur was clinical in her straight sets defeat of Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-2 6-4, further staking her claim as a genuine competitor on clay.
Meanwhile Daria Gavrilova came back from a first set deficit against Sorana Cirstea to claim victory 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.
Gavrilova was down a set and a break in the second when she dug her heels in to grind out a much needed Australian win.
Ajla Tomljanovic was unsuccessful in her first round challenge against Ukranian Elina Svitolina.