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10 Things to Know, Day 1: Murray vs. Wawrinka reunite at Roland Garros
It's a rare first-round clash between three-time Grand Slam champions.
Published Sep 27, 2020
UPDATE: After trailing by a break in the opening set, Simona Halep wins the final 10 games of her first-round match against Sara Sorribes Tormo to claim a career-best 15th consecutive victory.
Trivia: Jannik Sinner and Coco Gauff, the youngest players in the men’s and women’s Top 100s, are both playing seeds today. Coco was a junior No. 1, but what was Sinner’s career-high ranking in the juniors?
Welcome to Day 1 of Roland Garros! Five major champions are among the players in action on Sunday, and they’re all multiple major champions—Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, Venus Williams, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray.
Wawrinka and Murray play each other, a rare first-round clash between major champions. The last time two men’s major champions met in the first round of a major was Novak Djokovic against Juan Carlos Ferrero at Wimbledon in 2012. The last time it happened at Roland Garros: Yevgeny Kafelnikov against Michael Chang in 1999.
Other than the Big 3, Wawrinka and Murray are the only two men to win multiple majors in the last 18 and a half years. They’re both three-time major winners. Since the start of the 2002 season, the only other three men to win multiple majors are Roger Federer (20), Rafael Nadal (19) and Djokovic (17).
This will be Murray’s first match at Roland Garros since falling to Wawrinka in the semifinals here in 2017. It’s actually the former No. 1’s first match on clay at any level since then.
Happy Birthday, Simona! It’s Simona Halep’s 29th birthday on Sunday, and if she beats Sara Sorribes Tormo, it’ll be a double celebration—a win would extend her winning streak to a career-best 15 wins in a row.
Coco Gauff is making her Roland Garros main draw debut. She’s already played one Wimbledon, one Australian Open and two US Opens, and now she’ll make her debut here. She’s played on these courts before, though—she captured the junior title in 2018 and played in the qualies in 2019.
If Azarenka and Venus both win, they’ll play each other in the second round. Venus plays someone today who’s given her trouble before, though—Anna Karolina Schmiedlova’s won their last two meetings, rallying from a set down to beat the former No. 1 here in 2014 and at Monterrey earlier this year.
Venus won her first Olympic medal on this day 20 years ago. None of the anniversaries over the next two weeks will have anything to do with Roland Garros for obvious reasons… but on September 27, 2000, Venus beat Elena Dementieva for the gold medal in singles in Sydney. Fast forward to today, and she’s the most accomplished tennis player in Olympic history with five medals (four of them gold).
The Top 2-ranked American men are both in action. No.21 seed John Isner and No.27 seed Taylor Fritz aren’t just the two highest-ranked American men on the ATP rankings, they’re also the only two American men seeded here.
This is the 15th year of the “Sunday Start” at Roland Garros. Making Roland Garros a 15-day tournament by adding the Sunday Start began in 2006, and this is the 15th year in a row that they've done it.