Tennis: First-round defeat wake-up call for Wawrinka

By Dave James

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez had little trouble beating Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.Photo / AP
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez had little trouble beating Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.Photo / AP

Third-seeded Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka made a shock, listless exit from the French Open yesterday at the hands of Spanish journeyman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

The Swiss, bidding to become the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win the French Open in the same year as the Australian title, lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.

The 29-year-old produced a woeful 61 unforced errors as Garcia-Lopez, the world No 41, booked a second round match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

"It was just terrible," said Wawrinka. "It was not a good match. I need to take a few days off and see what will happen. Sometimes you need a tough loss to see where you are going."

Wawrinka admitted that the pressure of being a Grand Slam champion is weighing heavily on him.

"I need to find the pieces, how to be happy, how to win matches."

Wawrinka, a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros in 2013 and tipped as a possible title contender after winning the Monte Carlo Masters crown last month, was the second top 10 seed to lose on a rain-hit day.

Japanese ninth seed Kei Nishikori had earlier lost 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 6-2 to Slovakia's Martin Klizan.

There were no such problems for Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova who all shrugged off the Paris gloom.

Eight-time 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 rivals Djokovic and Wawrinka were handed top billing on the main Philippe Chatrier arena.

But it was still business as usual for Nadal who fired 27 winners past Ginepri, a semifinalist 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.

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.

Australian 18th seed Samantha Stosur eased past Puerto Rico's Monica Puig 6-1, 6-1 despite having had five stitches in a gashed leg.

-AAP

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