Tennis: Rising star falls flat in Paris

Alexander Zverev reacts during a first round match against Fernando Verdasco at the 2017 French Open at Roland Garros on May 30.
(Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)

On a day of upsets on Court Philippe Chatrier, up-and-coming youngster Alexander Zverev lost to Fernando Verdasco when their first-round match resumed at the French Open on Tuesday.

The match had been suspended Monday because of darkness after the players split the first two sets and the ninth-seeded Zverev was eventually defeated 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

No. 7 seed Johanna Konta of Britain had earlier lost 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 to 109th-ranked Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan on the show court. Considering the setting, the result is not all that surprising: Konta has now lost all three matches she’s played at the French Open in her career.


The 33-year-old Verdasco pinpointed the third set, the first one after the match resumed Tuesday, as the turning point of his match.

“It was a really tough set, the first one of today . . . with many games for both of us with chances to win one or the other,” the Spaniard said. “And, you know, I think that that moment of winning the third set gave me a lot of confidence and a lot of air to play the fourth. And I think it was hard for him on the other side. Like, you know, to start again and have to win two more sets.”

Zverev was one of the outside favorites after impressing on his way to victory 10 days ago at the Italian Open, where he upset Novak Djokovic in the final. But the 20-year-old German grew more frustrated as the match went on and broke his racket during the fourth set.

“You sometimes play bad. It’s just this is our sport,” Zverev said. “There is no regrets. I mean, what can you do? In Rome I played fantastic, I won the tournament. Here I played bad, I lost first round. That’s the way it goes. . . . It’s not the end of the world, OK? I lost a match, but, I mean, pretty much everybody loses a match every single week they play.”

Meanwhile, Juan Martin del Potro returned to Roland Garros for the first time in five years, and the 2009 U.S. Open champion had little trouble beating qualifier Guido Pella 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. After a series of wrist operations kept him off the tour for months at a time, Del Potro showed no sign of the shoulder and back problems that hampered him at the Lyon Open last week.

Stan Wawrinka is also safely through to the second round after a 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-3 win over Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia. Other winners included No. 18 Nick Kyrgios and No. 5 Elina Svitolina.