Vesely, playing his first ATP level event since the US Open due to a hamstring, actually led the Greek 6-3 in the fourth set breaker. But the Czech couldn’t cash it in as Tsitsipas stormed back winning six of the last seven points to advance.
“I started serving and I started thinking, OK, I might come to the net after the serve or I might approach after the first return,” said Tsitsipas. “Automatically everything started shifting more towards forward instead of let’s play the rally or let me wait for the shot to come to me.
“Psychologically, it created a spark… I felt like he started feeling the pressure a little bit more. His serves were not as accurate towards the end, which of course I’m happy with because it gave me the chance to start a few rallies and finally play more than three or four shots. That was it.”
Andrey Rublev also needed four sets. The Monte Carlo champion advanced past Laslo Djere 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Fellow Russian Karen Khachanov authored his third career 0-2 comeback spoiling 31-year-old Frenchman Constant Lestienne’s main draw debut in Paris 3-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.
Lestienne was able to level after going down a break in the 5th 2-0. But the big Khachanov was too strong.
There were four other 5-setters on the day.
Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz won a thriller over David Goffin 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Nuno Borges withstood 38 aces from 38-year-old John Isner to win it in a final set breaker 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 7-6 [11-9]. Borges led 8-4 in the breaker before Isner tied it at 9-all.
Australia’s Jason Kubler toppled qualifier Facundo Diaz Acosta 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 and Tallon Griekspoor had to fight off Pedro Martinez of Spain 6-4, 2-6, 0-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Also on opening day, No. 17 seed Lorenzo Musetti eased past Mikael Ymer 7-5, 6-2, 6-4. Thanasi Kokkinakis posted a great win pounding 20th-seeded Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. No. 24 seed Sebastian Korda defeated countryman Mackenzie McDonald in three sets 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. Lorenzo Sonego spoiled No. 30 seed Ben Shelton’s French debut 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
French No. 1 Ugo Humbert sent out compatriot Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 for his first win at Roland Garros and qualifier and French favorite Lucas Pouille defeated Jurij Rodionov of Austria 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
On Monday, the first round continues with tournament favorites Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic.
Alcaraz takes on 21-year-old Italian Flavio Cobolli who is making his Grand Slam debut after qualifying.
Djokovic meets America Aleksandar Kovacevic who idolized the Serb growing up.
Also, No. 8 Jannik Sinner will meet Alexandre Muller in the first night session. No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime tests Fabio Fognini, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe faces Filip Krajinovic, No. 14 Cameron Norrie meets Benoit Paire and No. 15 Borna Coric gets Federico Coria.
MONDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe-CHATRIER – Début à 11h45
Karolina PLISKOVA (CZE) contre Sloane STEPHENS (USA)
Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) contre Aleksandar KOVACEVIC (USA)
Caroline GARCIA (FRA) contre Xiyu WANG (CHN)
Pas avant 20h15
Jannik SINNER (ITA) contre Alexandre MULLER (FRA)
Court Suzanne-LENGLEN – Début à 11h00
Benoit PAIRE (FRA) contre Cameron NORRIE (GBR)
Elina AVANESYAN (—) contre Belinda BENCIC (SUI)
Carlos ALCARAZ (ESP) contre Flavio COBOLLI (ITA)
Petra KVITOVA (CZE) contre Elisabetta COCCIARETTO (ITA)
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