Berrettini holds off Daniel, Pliskova powers on


There were wins for respective ninth seeds Berrettini and Pliskova on Tuesday

Matteo Berretini, Roland-Garros 2021 first round©️ Julien Crosnier/FFT

Top Italian Matteo Berrettini opened his fourth Roland-Garros campaign on a winning not on Tuesday with a 6-0, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Japan's Taro Daniel.

The ninth seed clocked 14 aces and won 90 per cent of his first-serve points to deny the 113th-ranked qualifier after two hours and 22 minutes.

The 25-year-old Roman was aware of the danger Daniel posed after the Japanese player pushed him to three sets in the semi-finals of his Belgrade title run leading in.

He will next meet Argentine Federico Coria, who defeated Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2.

One of the elder flag-bearers of Italian men's tennis also had cause for celebration on Tuesday as Andreas Seppi upset No.20 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime to land his first tour-level victory of the season and first at Roland-Garros in four years.

The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime fell to 4-6 on clay for the season while Seppi moved on to face South Korean Soonwoo Kwon a 7-5, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(4) winner over South African Kevin Anderson.

Karolina Pliskova, Roland-Garros 2021 first round©️ Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Women's ninth seed Karolina Pliskova emerged triumphant in a high-quality shoot-out with Croatian Donna Vekic to reach the second round.

The Czech, a runner-up in Rome leading in, advanced 7-5, 6-4 in 97 minutes, hitting 26 winners to her opponent's 21. Pliskova's compatriot, Australian Open semi-finalist Karolina Muchova also progressed. The 18th seed held off former semi-finalist Andrea Petkovic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes.

No.3 seed Rafael Nadal commenced his quest for a record-extending 21st Grand Slam title and a 14th Roland-Garros crown with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(3) triumph over Australian world No.63 Alexei Popyrin.

The Mallorcan fired seven aces and won 81 per cent of his first-serve points to book a second round date with French veteran Richard Gasquet.

Nadal's inconceivable Roland-Garros record now stands at 101-2 win-loss.

"I'm happy to win that third set, I don't know how I won it, but I did, and I'm glad," the Spaniard said on court.

Over on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, Gael Monfils posted his first match-win at a Grand Slam since the 2020 Australian Open by outlasting clay specialist Albert Ramos-Vinolas 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4 in the Roland-Garros first round.

Entering the tournament, the 34-year-old Monfils had just one victory to his name this season while Ramos-Vinolas had 18 wins to his name, 17 of which had come on clay.


Monfils has openly discussed his struggles since the tour restarted from the pandemic hiatus last August and Tuesday's success will no doubt give him a welcome boost.

The Frenchman's next challenge comes in the form of 22-year-old Swede Mikael Ymer.

Gael Monfils, Roland Garros 2021, first round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Meanwhile, seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev suffered a shock 6-3, 7-6(6), 4-6, 3-6, 6-4 defeat to big-serving German Jan-Lennard Struff in a three-hour 46-minute battle on Court 14.


The Russian, who had made the quarter-finals at his last three majors, was considered one of the top contenders for the title, having made the Monte Carlo final in the build-up, scoring a big win over Rafael Nadal en route.

Struff, ranked 42 in the world, enjoyed his best run at a Grand Slam in Paris two years ago when he reached the fourth round.