Tough Gauff downs ninth seed Konta in Paris

Ruben Hill
September 28, 2020

She hit 14 winners against 26 unforced errors against 22 winners and 41 unforced for Konta. But she does seem to be missing the gentle support of Dimitri Zavialoff, the softly spoken Swiss who helped her so much past year - and whose departure during the Covid-19 lockdown was a result of Zavialoff's own personal circumstances.

American teenager Coco Gauff made an impressive return to the Grand Slam stage when she brushed aside last year's semi-finalist Johanna Konta 6-3 6-3 in her main draw debut at the French Open to advance into the second round on Sunday.

Only Evans can look back on the day with any positive feelings having produced his best performance at Roland Garros in a 1-6 6-1 7-6 (3) 1-6 6-4 loss to Nishikori, who is working his way up the rankings after elbow surgery. Neither, truthfully, did Konta, and she acknowledged as much afterward.

David Goffin has become the first seeded player to be knocked out of the French Open. Over at Lenglen, U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka did not hide her displeasure when she was told to remain on court instead of seeking shelter in the locker room while play was delayed because of a drizzle.

The conditions. The mostly empty stands - "Having no fans stinks", said John Isner, the 21st-seeded American, who won Sunday.

Sebastian Korda is another qualifier and the 20-year-old claimed his first main-draw win at a grand slam by beating Andreas Seppi 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-3.

Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and new US Open champion Dominic Thiem all get their campaigns under way on Monday. He next faces French qualifier Benjamin Bonzi or Finlands Emil Ruusuvuori.

Nadal, chasing a 13th Roland Garros title, will get his first taste in a match of the heavy balls and slow conditions when he takes on Egor Gerasimov, while Thiem meets Marin Cilic and Williams faces fellow American Kristie Ahn.

Less than a month after a first-round exit at the U.S. Open, Gauff was all business on a floodlit Court Suzanne Lenglen in front of a dozen spectators in chilly Parisian weather.

"I don't really take anything for granted, because I'm just happy to be playing", said Gauff. I'm not waiting here a couple of minutes, because I'm cold. When I'm on the court, I can act like I'm used to it.

Azarenka was leading 2-1 in the first set when a match supervisor asked them to wait on their courtside seats for a few minutes to see if the falling rain would pass. The 74th-ranked player from Montenegro agreed that she did not. Whats the point? Sitting here like ducks.

Postponed and its crowds almost all driven away, the French Open is finally underway, defying both the coronavirus and autumn rain with play for the first time under the new roof at the revamped Philippe Chatrier showpiece court.

It will need it: The forecast is grim for the coming days of its COVID-19-enforced autumn slot, pushed back from May and June. "So it's going to be pretty unique, maybe forever".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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