Paris: Former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero disappointed the crowd by knocking out local player Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy while Juan Martin del Potro overcame a knee injury to defeat Spaniard Albert Montanes and reach the second round of the French Open on a gentle opening day on Sunday.
Ferrero knocked out a battling Roland Garros debutant de Veigy 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in bright sunshine on the Suzanne Lenglen Court. The 25-year-old Frenchman, cheered heartily by fans in the half-full stands, needed two bouts of treatment on his serving arm at changeovers and saved two match points before putting a forehand long on the third.
The Spaniard, who at 32 is one of the more seasoned campaigners in the men's draw, was not entirely happy with his performance but he said his age did not bother him. "When I walk on the court, I don't think whether I am young or old, the only thing I try to do is play well," the world number 44 and the winner here in 2003 told a news conference. Spaniard Ferrero will now play Marin Cilic after the Croatian defeated Spain's Daniel Munoz 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina blows a kiss to the sky as he celebrates match point after his men's singles first round match against Albert Montanes.
Ninth-seeded Argentine del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open winner, had treatment on his left knee at the end of the second set but fought on to defeat Montanes. Del Potro, who won the Estoril Open on clay three weeks ago, will now play Frenchman Edouard Roger Vasselin.
Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French champion, blew kisses to the crowd after making short work of Spanish qualifier Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino in her opening match. The Serbian, seeded 13th, finished off a 59-minute 6-1, 6-1 demolition with an ace.
Australian Samantha Stosur, seeded sixth, was also in a hurry, taking just over an hour to dismiss Britain's Elena Baltacha 6-4, 6-0. Stosur, runner-up here in 2010, was happy to be back on red clay in Paris after players criticised the blue clay surface introduced at the Madrid Open this month, saying it was slippery.
"It's nice to be on a real clay court again and actually feel like you can play more clay court tennis," Stosur told a news conference. "I think that's one of the things that's probably annoyed a lot of people, that you're on a clay court but you can't play real clay court tennis.
Local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the top men's seed in action on the first day, was playing Russian Andrey Kuznetsov later on Sunday while American Venus Williams, unseeded after dropping down the rankings because of illness, was starting her campaign against Argentine Paula Ormaechea.
Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka will be in action on Monday, along with Roger Federer, starting his quest for a 17th grand-slam title.