Key events

Garcia hangs on for her breaker and quickly establishes a mini-break for 3-0. Meantime, Davidovich Fokina leads Fils 3-0.

And now look! Wawrinka breaks again, and at 5-2 will shortly serve for the match. Meantime, Alcaraz strides onto Lenglen, Cobolli with him. Meantime, on Chatrier, Garcia is serving for a first-set breaker against Wang.

Holding break point, Ramos-Vinolas whams a forehand fractionally wide, then Wawrinka clobbers a forehand to the forehand side, opening the court for a winner into the opposite corner. He’s got so much power it’s ridiculous, and quickly closes out to lead 4-2 in the fifth.

Bencic is one of those players who seems to lose every time I watch her, and Avanesyan definitely coped with the pressure better than she did, winning four straight to seal her maiden major win. At 20, she looks a proper prospect.

Elina Avanesyan beats Belinda Bencic [12] 6-3 2-6 6-4!

Avanesyan, a lucky loser making her Roland-Garros debut, bins a seed for the biggest win of her career and meets Jeanjean next.

Elina Avanesyan reacts after winning her first round match against Belinda Bencic. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Fnarr fnarr! Wawrinkz guides a gloooorious backhand down the line, flicked with the wrist, and I can’t think of many who can play that like that – even if they’ve had a good night’s sleep. Still, he has to tramp through deuce for his consolidation, sealed with an ace then a forehand winner. He leads 3-1 in the fifth.

Wawrinka breaks Ramos-Vinolas early in the decider, though he looks like he’s been 12 rounds with the kluhrb; Tirante leads Van de Zandschulp 6-2 4-6 6-3 1-1; Avanesyan and Bencic are 4-4 in their decider; and Thiem leads Cachin by a break in the third, Cachin having won sets one and two.

Thanks Luke. Elina Svitolina has marked her Grand Slam return, following injury and having a baby, to bear Marta Trevisan, the number 26 sEed, 6-2 6-2. her husband, Gael Monfils, is there to enjoy the moment, and she meets Storm Hunter next – which sounds like a hobby whose enthusiasts get their own show on Bravo.

That’s the lot from me: Daniel, freshly fed and watered, has returned to take you through the rest of the afternoon. Enjoy.

Wawrinka 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-7 (2), 1-6, 1-1 *Ramos-Viñolas (*denotes next server)

Wawrinka, the male Swiss player who has the misfortune not to be Roger Federer, has lost all his momentum on Court 14. Ramos-Viñolas dominates the fourth, wins it 6-1, and it’s 1-1 in the fifth and final set.

Stan Wawrinka fires off a shot to Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Photograph: Aurélien Morissard/AP

*Garcia 2-0 Wang (*denotes next server)

On Philippe-Chatrier, Wang holds and gets on the board.

In the men’s singles on Court 9:

Van de Zandschulp [25] 2-6, 6-4, 3-5 Tirante

The 22-year-old Argentinian, Thiago Tirante, is currently serving for the third set against his 25th-seeded opponent.

Garcia 2-0 *Wang (*denotes next server)

Quick as a flash it’s 2-0. Garcia is hitting the ball sweetly and powerfully, and a difficult afternoon appears to be in store for the world No 64, Wang.

*Garcia 1-0 Wang (*denotes next server)

Garcia starts as she means to go on and breaks at the first time of asking having taken her opponent to deuce.

“She’s looking confident so far, Garcia,” says Jo Durie on commentary for Eurosport. “I thought she’s be more nervous than this.”

Respect. #TennisValues Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic launched his quest for a record-breaking 23rd men’s Grand Slam singles title with a no-nonsense 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) first-round victory over debutant Aleksandar Kovacevic on at the French Open.

The two-times Roland Garros champion breezed through the first two sets before encountering resistance from the 24-year-old American whose lack of experience showed in the tiebreak on the world’s biggest clay court.

Djokovic ended the contest with a sizzling service return on his first match point. He will next face Hungarian journeyman Marton Fucsovics for a place in the third round. (Reuters)

On Philippe-Chatrier, Caroline Garcia [5] is under way against Wang Xiyu of China. The No 5 seed is also ranked No 5 in the world, while Wang is placed No 64 going into the second grand-slam event of the year.

On Court 12, meanwhile, Coric (seeded 15) takes the first set off Coria on a tiebreak, 7-6 (3).

Thiem 3-6, 2-6 Cachín is a latest score from Court 6.

The former world No 3, Thiem, is down at No 92 in the world these days and is looking likely to crash out against his Argentinian opponent, who is ranked No 64. The Austrian is two sets down and right up against it.

Following that sobering news from Stephens via Reuters, let’s take a look at the latest scores in the men’s singles.

On Court 14, it’s Wawrinka 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-7 (2), 0-3 Ramos-Viñolas – so the Spaniard is looking likely to go the distance with his Swiss opponent.

Racism has ‘only gotten worse’, says Sloane Stephens

Racist behaviour directed at athletes is getting worse and software designed to protect them from it has little impact, the world number 30 Sloane Stephens has said.

The American, speaking after her straight-sets first-round victory over Katerina Pliskova, said she has endured racism for her whole tennis career.

“Yes, it’s obviously been a problem my entire career,” said Stephens. “It has never stopped. If anything, it’s only gotten worse.” She did not go into specifics but said software such as the one available for players at the French Open, that is designed to block racist comments, could not stop it.

“I did hear about the software. I have not used it,” Stephens said. “I have a lot of obviously key words banned on Instagram and all of these things, but that doesn’t stop someone from just typing in an asterisk or typing it in a different way, which obviously software most of the time doesn’t catch.”

Professional athletes in all sports are regularly confronted with racist comments and behaviour with Real Madrid soccer player Vinícius Jr. the most notable recent case.

Sloane Stephens pictured during her victory against Karolina Pliskova. Photograph: Robert Prange/Getty Images

He was on the receiving end of racist chants at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium last week and his complaints about Spain and La Liga not doing enough to fight racism sparked a worldwide wave of support and a national debate in Spain.

Tottenham Hotspur were working this month with the Metropolitan Police to investigate an allegation of racial abuse towards South Korean striker Son Heung-min.

Stephens said the racism had reached a worrying level. “I mean, obviously when there is FBI investigations going on with what people are saying to you online, it’s very serious,” she said. She did not say whether she was referring to a specific case.

“Obviously it’s been something that I have dealt with my whole career. I think that, like I said, it’s only continued to get worse, and people online have the free rein to say and do whatever they want behind fake pages, which is obviously very troublesome.”

“It’s something I have had to deal with my whole career and something I will continue to deal with, I’m sure. That’s that.” (Reuters)

In the women’s singles: On Court Simonne-Mathieu, Svitolina took the first set v Trevisan (26th seed), 6-2, and they have just begun the second set.

Stearns v Siniakova is 2-2 in the first set, on Court 5 while on Court 7, Putintseva won the first v Zanevska, and they are now 2-2 in the second.

Henman pours some praise on Djokovic in Eurosport’s “The Cube”.

“It’s a very solid start. There was no messing around. Third set, he came through some difficult moments, but he won’t be disappointed about that. You have to come through those nervous moments. He will look at it as one down, six to go.”

Djokovic has a chat, in French to begin with …

“It’s a pleasure to play here, it’s a great tournament … there are a lot of emotions here … I am very motivated for to do well here.

“Congratulations to Alex for a big battle today. The conditions were difficult. The wind was changing. But I’m happy and I am staying positive …”

Djokovic brings a cheer from the crowd when the interviewer asks him if he’s happy to speak English or continue in French, and he says he’ll carry on in French.

“That was a long question. I think in the first sets I played really well … but then I missed opportunities and lost a little focus in the third set, but his level was strong … it wasn’t an easy opponent. I had to earn it.

“I’m looking for a French teacher,” he jokes at the end.

And he applauds the crowd and goes to pack up his kit. He will play Marton Fucsovics in the second round.

Novak Djokovic stoops to conquer. Photograph: Javier García/Shutterstock

Any thoughts? You can email me, up until 4pm anyway when Daniel is back.

Djokovic [3] beats Kovacevic in straight sets! 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (1)

No bother in the tiebreak for the Serb. The players come to the net and Kovacevic cracks a big smile as they embrace.

Third-set tiebreak! Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 6-6 (5-1) Kovacevic

Kovacevic crafts a lovely backhand winner down the line, on the run, to trouble the scorers in the tiebreak, but on the next point Djokovic unloads a beefy forehand straight down the same side of the court that is laden with power and leaves Kovacevic flat-footed. It’s 4-1 in the tiebreak, then 5-1 when the Serb sniffs a chance to come to the net and clips a smooth winner down the line.

Third-set tiebreak! Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 6-6 (3-0) Kovacevic

Djokovic wins the mini-break to begin after his opponent hits wide, the umpire dismounting his chair to check the mark in the tramlines. Quickly it’s 3-0, partly thanks to a belting unreturnable serve down the middle, and the Serb has a firm grip on this breaker already. Simon Reed on commentary tells us that Djokovic has won over 200 tiebreaks in his career …

Third-set tiebreak! Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 6-6 Kovacevic

Djokovic looks to have the first point sewn up but a forehand to the corner, having coming into the net, is telegraphed and Kovacevic is in place to belt it back, in unreturnable fashion. Djokovic taps his racket in approval as he walks back to the baseline.

Kovacevic buries a shot from the back of the court into the net for 15-15 and Djokovic wins the next point with a dainty, well-judged dink cross-court after both players sprint to the net. Djokovic wins the next two points with little fuss and we have a tiebreak in the third.

*Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 5-6 Kovacevic (*denotes next server)

The 24-year-old races to 40-0, Djokovic being Djokovic fights back to 40-30, but the world No 114 closes out the hold and he leads in the third set.

Novak Djokovic serves to Aleksandar Kovacevic. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Thanks Daniel and enjoy your lunch.

Breaking news – literally, lol etc. – is that Kovacevic has just broken Djokovic’s serve to claw it back to 5-5 in the third. The Serb was serving for the match. Can the American claw his way back into this?

It’s 6-3, 6-2, 5-5.

Ramos-Vinolas isn’t going away, upping the gas on the forehand, enjoying a felicitous net cord, and breaking Wawrinka back for 4-4 in set three – Wawrinka, of course, leads by two sets to love. Otherwise, though. I’m going to nip off for some lunch, so here’s Luke McLaughlin to guide you through the next hour.

Karatsev is a dangerous floater – he was the top seed in qualifying – and has beaten Popyrin 6-3 (4)6-7 6-1 6-2. He meets Krajinovic or Tiafoe next. That’s a tough match for whichever of them it is.

Also going on:

Novak Djokovic is so, so good at moving through the early rounds with minimum fuss and maximum prejudice. He’s a game away, leading Kovacevic 6-3 6-2 5-3.

Vondroussova has beaten Parks 6-4 6-0 and meets Kasatkina next, which looks tasty; Cachin leads Thiem 3-0; Daniel is through having disposed of O’Connell 0,2 and 4, earning a second-round match against Alcaraz or Cobolli; and Avanesyan leads Bencic 6-3.

And here he is on own-clothes day, practising with a stick.

Photograph: David Winter/Shutterstock

Wawrinkz always looks like he’s suddenly realised he’s got a match on, having been out till breakfast and forgotten his gear; today is no different, and he leads Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 6-4 3-1.

Photograph: Aurélien Morissard/AP

Coming up next on Mathieu: Svitolina v Trevisan [26].

I must say, I thought Felix would be playing better and more consistently than he is. I hoped he was over the hump when he got to the US semis in 2019, then again when he took Nadal to five sets in this competition last term. But things aren’t quite going for him, and injury isn’t the only reason why not.

Fabio Fognini beats Felix Auger-Aliassime [10] 6-4 6-4 6-3!

He played really well, and well done Felix who refused to call it; Fognini meets Kubler next.

Bautista Agut has beaten Wu 7-6(4) 6-1 6-1 – he faces Shang or Varillas next – and Tirante leads Van de Zandschulp, the number 25 seed, 6-2 1-1.

Djokovic breaks Kovacevic at the start of set three – he’ll be back in the hotel pretty shortly – then we see Norrie’s interview. He really enjoyed the match – a five-setter against a Frenchman in Paris is why he trains – and he felt his concentration was much better in the decider.

Norrie faces Pouille next, who qualified after admitting battles with alcohol and depression. Here’s the moment he cemented his spot in the draw…

OK, Auger-Aliassime has retrieved a break and is hitting bare drops in a bid to shorten the points. I can’t see any way he can win three sets straight even if he somehow saves this one, and I can’t decide if he’s being brave or silly by refusing to quit. Ultimately, though, Felix knows his own body, so.

A reminder that Carlos Alcaraz will be with us following the completion of Avanesyan v Bencic; Avanesyan, in the groove following qualifying, has broken at the firsttime of asking to lead 2-0.

Stefanos Tsitsipas was asked about shaving his beard today and he responded by talking entirely about… *checks notes* Carlos Alcaraz.

— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) May 28, 2023

Fognini is wily, especially on clay – I’m not surprised he’s playing well here – and he breaks Auger-Aliassime for second time in set three. This match is pretty much over.

On Lenglen, Avanesyan and Bencic are under way; on 14 Wawrinka, or Wawrinkz as he’s presumably known, is a set and a break up on Ramos-Vinolas.

Auger-Aliassime – and, more importantly, my little accumulator – are on borrowed time. Fognini has broken him at the start of set three and now leads 6-4 6-4 1-0.

Djokovic breaks Kovacevic again, leading 6-3 4-1 – he’s quite good at tennis – and Shapovalov has taken a match that didn’t look like being close but was, beating Nakashima 6-4 7-5 4-6 3-6 6-3. He faces Arnaldi next.

As I type that, Fognini serves out and leads Auger-Aliassime, the number 10 seed, 6-4 6-4, while Djokovic has broken Kovacevic in set two for 6-3 2-1.

Auger-Aliassime is struggling physically – that right foot situation – and breaks Fognini only to be broken again himself, meaning the Italian will shortly serve for a two-set lead. Elsewhere, Schwartzman has just come from behind to beat Zapata Miralles 1-6 (5)6-7 6-2 6-0 6-4, Bautista Agut leads Wu 7-6(4) 6-1 and Karatsev is up 7-6(4) (4)6-7 1-0 o Popyrin.

Norrie, who was two sets to one down and trailed 4-1 in the decider, says it’s good to see Paire back playing well. He agrees it was a great match, thanks the crowd for the atmosphere, and says it’s difficult when Paire’s serving well and using his backhand. He’s looking forward to playing another French guy, but now he needs to relax and get ready for that; all the training is worth it for moments like this. He plans to enjoy Paris, going out for a nice dinner tonight, then come back for next round.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *