Wawrinka points to self after French Open crash: ‘I wasn’t good at all’
Stan Wawrinka said he had no answers to his listless first round exit at the French Open on Monday where he was well beaten by Spanish journeyman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
The Australian Open champion, who was tipped as a possible winner in Paris after claiming the Monte Carlo Masters title, struggled throughout in a mistake-strewn performance that saw him produce 61 unforced errors.
“It wasn’t good at all, I kept trying to find my game, anything to get back in it but I just need to take a few days off now and figure out what happened,” said a visibly dejected Wawrinka.
“He’s a really good player but it was me, I couldn’t find solutions and it was just terrible and a really big disappointment.”
Wawrinka has endured a roller-coaster claycourt season with the high of his Monte Carlo title followed by dispiriting early exits in Madrid and Rome.
On Monday, there was the added pressure of trying to become the first man since American Jim Courier in 1992 to win the French Open in the same year as the Australian title.
“I’m really sad but I can’t change it and I just have to accept it and think about the future,” said Wawrinka.
“The grass court season is coming up and there’s still a lot to think about for the rest of the year but I don’t have the answers right now as to what happened.
“Everything was terrible but that’s what it is.” he added.
Garcia-Lopez laid down the gauntlet from the outset by breaking twice and putting Wawrinka in an early hole by taking the first set in 36 minutes.
The Swiss No 1 and quarter-finalist last year, then had to dig deep to level the match when he broke at 6-5 up in the second despite firing an uncharacteristic 17 unforced errors.
The Spaniard remained unruffled however and broke the Wawrinka serve for the fourth time in the opening game of the third set to seize the momentum he never relinquished.
When he wrapped it up 6-2 under fading light on a rain-hit day, the writing was on the wall for the Swiss star.
The 29-year-old was increasingly frustrated and out of sorts as Garcia-Lopez continued to dominate a match he never looked like losing.
Wawrinka, who has a reputation as a great five set player, never got that far as he collapsed 6-0 in the decider to hand Garcia-Lopez arguably the finest win of his career.
The 30-year-old, who came into the tournament ranked 41 in the world, can now look forward to a second round match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who defeated Yen-Hsun Lu with little difficulty.
Meanwhile Japanese ninth seed Kei Nishikori also suffered a disappointing exit on Monday in a 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-2 loss to Slovakia’s Martin Klizan.
Nishikori was left feeling as miserable as the Paris weather, clearly still suffering from his recent back injury.
Nishikori, 24, and coached by 1989 champion Michael Chang, was the first Japanese man in 75 years to make the fourth round in Paris in 2013.
But the world number 10, who first suffered the back injury in the Madrid Masters final against Nadal, looked distinctly half-fit on Court 1 where he was broken 10 times by Klizan.
He also hit 10 double faults and committed 40 unforced errors
Left-handed Klizan, 24, one of six former junior champions in the main draw, goes on to face Robin Haase of the Netherlands.
“It sucks,” said Nishikori.
There were no such problems for Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who both shrugged off the Paris gloom.
Eight-times champion Nadal, bidding to become the first man to win five Roland Garros titles in a row, beat US wildcard and world No 279 Robby Ginepri 6-0, 6-3, 6-0.
It was Nadal’s 60th win at the French Open against just one loss.
World No 1 Nadal kicked off his campaign on the secondary Suzanne Lenglen court while title rival Djokovic – as well as Wawrinka – was handed top billing on the main Philippe Chatrier arena.
It was a decision blasted as “bizarre” by one fellow professional even though Nadal himself had criticised the state of the newly-laid clay on Chatrier after a weekend practice session.
Despite the controversy, it was business as usual for Nadal who fired 27 winners past Ginepri, a semi-finalist at the 2005 US Open whose challenge was undone by 41 unforced errors.
“It doesn’t matter where I play,” said Nadal who next faces highly-rated Dominic Thiem of Austria.
“It’s always a pleasure and an honour to play at Roland Garros, on Chatrier, Lenglen or any other court. This place has given me unforgettable emotions.”
Second seed Djokovic, the 2012 runner-up who is seeking a first Roland Garros title to complete a career Grand Slam, brushed aside Portugal’s Joao Sousa, the world 42, in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Djokovic, widely regarded as the favourite to dethrone Nadal having beaten the Spaniard in Rome two weeks ago, next faces French hope Jeremy Chardy.
“I played for most of the match quite solid. The end of the match was not so nice from my side because I dropped my serve twice,” said Djokovic.
Other notable results from Monday’s first-round action included world No 45 Julien Benneteau losing to world 143 Facundo Bagnis in five sets, including an 18-16 fifth-set tie-break. No 18 seed Ernests Gulbis was taken to five sets by Poland’s Lukasz Kubot, and other seeded victors included No 14 Fabio Fognini (d Andreas Beck), No 17 Tommy Robredo (d James Ward), No 25 Marin Cilic (d Pablo Andujar), No 26 Feliciano Lopez (d Damir Dzumhur), No 27 Roberto Bautista Agut (d Paolo Lorenzi) and No 29 Gilles Simon (d Ante Pavic).
The only other seed to crash out with Wawrinka and Ishikori was Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, who was beaten in straight sets by Teymuraz Gabashvili.
In the women’s tournament, Maris Sharapova, seeded seven and the 2012 champion, needed just over an hour to beat fellow Russian, Ksenia Pervak, the world’s 156th-ranked player, 6-1, 6-2.
The 27-year-old, who lost last year’s final to Serena Williams, looked comfortable under the cloudy conditions on Chatrier, breaking her opponent five times.
Sharapova will next face Bulgaria’s 2010 Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova.
“First matches at Grand Slams are always tough, no matter how prepared you are, no matter how many matches you’ve played,” said Sharapova, now 13-1 on clay in 2014 with titles in Stuttgart and Madrid.
Notable seeds Petra Kvitova, Flavia Pennetta, Eugenie Bouchard, Sam Stosur, Sabine Lisicki, Dominika Cibulkova and Alize Cornet all advanced comfortably as well. Only 17th-seeded Roberta Vinci suffered disappointment, losing 6-3, 3-6, 2-6 to Pauline Parmentier.
Among the bigger names playing their first-round matches on Tuesday are David Ferrer (v Igor Sijsling), Andy Murray (v Andrey Golubev), Grigor Dimitrov (v Ivo Karlovic), Sloane Stephens (v Peng Shuai), Caroline Wozniacki (v Yanina Wickmayer), Sara Errani (v Madison Keys), Ana Ivanovic (v Caroline Garcia), Simona Halep (v Alisa Kleybanova) and Li Na (v Kristina Mladenovic).
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Published: May 27, 2014 04:00 AM