Wawrinka stunned in French opener
PARIS — The positive vibes and big-deal victories began for Stan Wawrinka at last year's U.S. Open, back when he still went by "Stanislas," and picked up steam at this year's Australian Open, where he earned the right to forever be called "major champion."
And yet all of that seemed so far away late Monday at the French Open as dusk approached — and defeat became apparent — in Wawrinka's first Grand Slam match since winning his first major title.
Surprisingly, Wawrinka looked listless. More stunningly, he looked very little like a guy who was seeded No. 3 behind Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and proclaimed himself "one of the favorites" just a few days earlier. In by far the biggest development of the tournament's first two days, Wawrinka lost in the first round at Roland Garros with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 defeat to 41st-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain.
"I was trying to find my game, trying ... to be aggressive, trying to find anything. And I didn't," said Wawrinka, whose trademark one-handed backhanded was off-target throughout. "I was completely flat."
He is the first Australian Open champ to exit in the first round of that year's French Open since Petr Korda in 1998.
Garcia-Lopez has never been past the third round at a major.
Wawrinka — who recently told the ATP he'd rather go by the shortened version of his first name — finished with 62 unforced errors, 34 more than Garcia-Lopez.
Wawrinka's loss means yet another season will pass without one man winning the Australian Open and French Open; Jim Courier was the last to accomplish that double, in 1992.
Another top-10 man lost Monday when No. 9 Kei Nishikori of Japan was eliminated by Martin Klizan of Slovakia. No. 17 Roberta Vinci of Italy was the only seeded woman to exit Monday, when winners included 2012 champion Maria Sharapova and 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova.
Nadal and Djokovic, meanwhile, looked very much like the top two seeds.
When No. 2 Djokovic's victory was interrupted by one of the passing showers that made Monday a stop-and-start affair, he pulled a white windbreaker over his head, plopped down on his changeover bench, and invited a ball boy to sit, too. Djokovic exchanged a racket for the kid's tournament umbrella. Then Djokovic handed over a Perrier, grabbed his own orange-colored drink, and the pair clinked bottles, sipped, then had a conversation.
Yes, all's fun and games when you're on your way to a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory against 44th-ranked Joao Sousa of Portugal.
Nadal improved to 60-1 at the French Open by winning 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 over Robby Ginepri, an American ranked 279th.