05/11/11 - 20:12
Most of the top seeds in the qualifying draw lived up to expectations in the first round, but three Frenchman broke the mold and ousted higher-ranked opponents, with none other than Nicolas Mahut once again the man of the moment.
Having fallen to John Isner at Wimbledon 2010 in the longest ever match, Mahut had a briefer time of it on Saturday but with a happier result, defeating No.1 seed Bernard Tomic. The Australian teenager, who was a Wimbledon quarter-finalist earlier this year, struggled on service and seemed to be wincing when he raised his shoulder, receiving treatment from the trainer mid-match (photo). Mahut needed no second bidding, and made it through to Sunday’s second round with a 7-6(4), 6-2 win.
33-year-old Arnaud Clément meanwhile proved to be worthy of his wild card, splitting two tight sets with No.12 seed Lukas Rosol before running away with the decider, bagelling his tired opponent. Benoît Paire battled and achieved a similar result against a similar opponent, edging out No.11 seed Denis Istomin 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, making it three Frenchman still in the running for one of the six spots in the main draw.
Otherwise the seeds enjoyed an easier ride of it. No.2 Donald Young (USA) defeated Frenchman Maxime Teixeira, who was himself a replacement for late scratch Pere Riba, in straight sets, while No.3 Santiago Giraldo (COL) did likewise against Teimuraz Gabashvili. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) defeated Kenny De Scheeper (FRA), while there were also wins for Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER), Igor Kunitsyn (RUS), Sam Querrey (USA) and Lukas Kubot (POL).