Tipsarevic was playing his first Roland Garros since 2013 after being treated for a benign tumour on his left foot. His charm offensive continued after the match. A fans’ favorite in Paris, he has dramatically improved his level of French in recent years.
Only ten matches were completed during the first day of the French Open. In the victory, Murray 68 percent of his first serve points and 47 percent of his second serve points.
Murray won the first two claycourt titles of his career last season before losing a five-set epic semi-final here to Djokovic.
Tenth-seeded former US Open champion Marin Cilic, however, suffered his earliest loss at a Slam in five years when Argentine qualifier Marco Trungelliti clinched a shock 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win.
The big-serving Croatian, also 37, beat Australian wildcard Jordan Thompson 6-7 (2) 6-3 7-6 (3) 6-7 (4) 12-10 in the longest match of the tournament so far to become the oldest man to reach the third round of a slam since Jimmy Connors in 1991. After the match was suspended because of darkness, play resumed Tuesday with Murray leading, 4-2, in the fourth set.
When he held to love to lead 5-4 he scented victory and the alarm bells were ringing in the Murray camp when he trailed 15-30 in the next game. Murray double-faulted on his first match point, but on his second Stepanek netted a volley and a relieved Murray held his arms in the air.
Thus, it was supposed to be nothing but a walkover for Murray, 29, up against the oldest player in the men’s singles draw.
Murray complained and had let out a lot of curses during the first round of the match, which lasted for nearly 3 hours until the match had to be stopped because of bad lighting. Yes, I was getting frustrated, but I gave everything to try to win and got myself out of a situation that not all players would have been able to get themselves out of. The score was 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.
Second seed Murray stunned Novak Djokovic to win the Rome Masters the weekend before last, but he struggled mightily against the crafty Stepanek on Court Phillipe Chatrier. “He had a bad injury past year and was out for eight or nine months”.
“I did an interview before the tournament, before anything that Amelie had said had come out”.
Organizers will be keeping a watchful eye on the skies with more rain forecast to roll across the French capital.
“Roland Garros announced my retirement but I didn’t”, Schiavone said. I don’t know if he said anything to me – I wasn’t listening. “I will announce when I will want to stop”.
Later, Serena Williams faced 77th-ranked Magdalena Rybarikova to start the defense of her title.