Day 2 Diary: Emma's superfan comes to Paris

 - Alex Sharp

Raducanu gets a fun surprise on her Roland-Garros debut, French crowd have plenty to celebrate

Emma Raducanu / Premier tour Roland-Garros 2022©Amélie Laurin / FFT

Emma Raducanu got the full Paris experience when she came back from a set and a break down to defeat last year's junior champion Linda Noskova on a rowdy Court Simonne-Mathieu on Monday.

There was a rain delay, there were buoyant crowds, and plenty of drama as the reigning US Open champion enjoyed an eventful Roland-Garros debut.

"The crowd was... actually, it was like switching. So in the beginning I thought it was a lot for me and then towards the second and third set, she was getting a lot more," said the 19-year-old Brit after the match.

"I didn't actually mind that, to be honest, because I just loved the atmosphere. The French crowd is definitely very honest, but it was fun to play in front of. They just wanted Benoit to get on," she added with a laugh, referring to home favourite Benoit Paire, who was scheduled next on that court.

"It was definitely a fun atmosphere to play in front of, and I'm happy that I get another chance to."

Raducanu was spotted high-fiving a fan upon victory and it turns out, he has become quite the familiar face at her matches.

"I was so surprised to see him, actually. He was at every single match in the US Open. Then he went to Indian Wells, as well, a few weeks after. I haven't seen him since. To see him here was pretty something," said Raducanu.

"Yeah, he was just getting behind me every single match. Yeah, it's really nice to see him here."

Emma Raducanu, 1er tour, Roland-Garros 2022©Amélie Laurin / FFT

Bibi's back

Three points from elimination, Bianca Andreescu battled past initial nerves and Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 to re-announce herself back to the Grand Slam gauntlet.

“The match was definitely all over the place for me. I feel my nerves at the beginning got the best of me,” admitted the 2019 US Open champion.

Swiss 14th seed Belinda Bencic awaits in the second round -- a rematch of the US Open semi-final which Andreescu won en route to her maiden Grand Slam triumph.

The tennis world is relishing having such a big-stage player back in the fold. The 21-year-old Canadian, already a major champion but currently ranked 72 in the world, took five months off to reassess and rediscover her passion for tennis before returning to action on clay in Stuttgart in April. Such a break, which she revealed was for mental health reasons, produces positives and negatives.

“When you play consecutive matches, consecutive tournaments, you kind of have a good rhythm going. You learn a lot from your wins and from your losses,” continued Andreescu.

“But I feel like I have gained a lot of wisdom throughout my time off, and I feel fresher and maybe more motivated.”

Fritz putting on a show

America’s leading charge Taylor Fritz has Netflix TV crews following his life on tour and the content will be worth a watch if his first round is anything to go by.

The world No.14 went the distance to dispatch qualifier Santiago Fa Rodriguez Taverna 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a three-hour and 34-minute belter.

Fritz’s girlfriend Morgan Riddle recently posted a video on Tiktok that went viral titled, ‘Tennis Tour 101’, giving an insight to life behind the scenes; a crucial concept for Fritz.

“I think appealing to a younger generation and making tennis kind of more fun and exciting is like probably the most important thing we need to do as a sport and it's always been one of my kind of personal dreams to see tennis become more popular among younger kids,” said the 24-year-old, back in action after a foot injury disrupted his preparations.

“I think that that's just kind of what the younger generation like responds well to is like all the drama and the craziness and so I think maybe letting players get away with a bit more would be a bit exciting.”

High fives for French vibes

As well as Diane Parry conquering defending champion Barbora Krejcikova, wildcard Corentin Moutet used plenty of flair to take out 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in four sets.

2020 girls’ winner Elsa Jacquemot surrendered just four games to breeze past Brit Heather Watson for her first ever Grand Slam win, a feat matched by compatriot Leolia Jeanjean going 6-4, 6-3 against world No.45 Nuria Parrizas-Diaz.

Moutet the copycat

Just like millions of kids around the world, Moutet found inspiration from 13-time champion Rafael Nadal.

"I was imitating a lot of things, and I even did stupid things, but I was sleeping with his tank top of Roland. I was a kid, not like I was 14 or 15-years-old. I don't even remember how old I was," quipped the 23-year-old Frenchman.

"I was imitating his serve. When you're a kid you need to have idols to identify to people. I was a lefty, so he was my inspiration. When I was a kid, I tried to reproduce what he was doing. So I imitated his serve, his forehand until I started doing what was best for me, and it was not to imitate him."

Very local hero

Parry, who grew up so close to these Roland-Garros grounds she used to arrive on a scooter, has upgraded to a car with a driving license.

Living round the corner in Boulogne-Billancourt, winning on Court Philippe-Chatrier is well and truly a home win.

“When I was at school, when my mother would bring me to school, I could see every day the Roland-Garros stadium. It was a dream for me to play there once,” revealed the 19-year-old.

“I’ve played there, and I actually won, so it's wonderful. Today it's a dream come true in front of a beautiful crowd.”

Photo of the day

Croatian qualifier Borna Gojo was floored by his thrilling Roland-Garros debut. The 24-year-old edged Italian lucky loser Alessandro Giannessi 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 in a monster five-hour battle.

Borna Gojo, 1er tour, Roland-Garros 2022  ©André Ferreira / FFT

Invincible Iga?

World No.1 Iga Swiatek flew past the first test tallying up her 29th successive match win with a 6-2, 6-0 scoreboard facing Lesia Tsurenko.

One fan in particular was so sure of the result that she prepared and then showed off a tongue-in-cheek sign reading, “She may never lose again”.

“I'm pretty sure that I am going to lose at some point,” smiled Swiatek, who next faces Alison Riske.

“I also want to be ready for that and be aware that there are many players out there who can play great tennis and who are really dangerous.

“I just want to focus on the things that I have been focusing before, and even before the streak, because I have been doing a pretty good job at that.

“For sure the support from the fans is extraordinary and it's great and I love it, but I want to stay the same and keep my routines.”

Luck of the draw for Tsurenko

Sometimes the draws can be really unkind.

Take the 2022 majors for Tsurenko. Back in January the Ukrainian had to take on in-form Ashleigh Barty on home soil at the Australian Open. Fast-forward to Paris and Tsurenko was once again pitched against the current world No.1.

“How do you think I feel to play two Grand Slams in a row against No.1 seed? And Australian Open was two times in a row for me,” declared the world No.119.

“So I did not feel great, especially getting Ash Barty when she's not losing a match and playing unbelievable, and the same story with Iga.”

Tsurenko is perfectly placed to compare these two exceptional talents.

“I think they play quite similar, just Ash using more slice on the backhand, but the speed is quite the same, the speed and placement of the serve is the same. Very solid baseline. I think there is a reason why they are No.1," explained the 32-year-old.

Lesia Tsurenko, Roland Garros 2022, first round© Remy Chautard/FFT

Quote of the day

“Obviously it's a great disappointment to lose in a Grand Slam, but it's the reality of my life now. I knew before the match that I needed to work a lot to work physically, to work on my tennis. It's not I'm playing badly or I'm not good, but I'm not feeling good for matches yet.

“This is the mirror of where I am now. You have to go through times like this with bad matches, with bad first rounds in a Grand Slam because I need to play a few matches to renew the feelings you look for in a match.”

-- Three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka is clear on the way forward.

Stan Wawrinka, Corentin Moutet, Roland Garros 2022, first round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Stat of the day