Former French champ joins Aussie exodus
STILL reeling from knee surgeries, former champion Stan Wawrinka has lost a five-set battle to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round of the French Open.
Last year's finalist lasted three and a half hours before bowing out with a 6-2 3-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 loss to the 67th-ranked Spaniard.
Reigning champion Rafael Nadal was two sets up in his clash against Simone Bolelli when rain stopped play.
The world No.1 and 10-time champion will resume on Tuesday at 6-4 6-3 0-3 against the Italian.
Returning to the place where he claimed the second of his three grand slam titles did not help Wawrinka shake off his poor form.
The Swiss player, No.30 in the world, looked a shadow of the player who won the title in Paris three years ago, struggling with his serve and hitting 72 unforced errors. "There is no frustration, it's just tough," Wawrinka said following a result which will see him fall from No.30 in the world to outside the top 250. "But I'm on the right way. It was very close today."
Garcia-Lopez had already upset Wawrinka in the first round at Roland Garros when they met in Paris four years ago. He will next play Karen Khachanov of Russia.
The pair were joined in the second round by former champion Novak Djokovic, who advanced with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 win over qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil. "He's a fighter. It was a good test for the first match," Djokovic said. The 2016 Roland Garros champion said he felt he was beginning to play better and free of pain after "a long 12 months".
Djokovic faces Spain's unseeded Jaume Munar in the second round. Third seed Dominic Thiem was too strong for Ilya Ivashka of Belarus, winning 6-2 6-4 6-1 while 13th seed Roberto Bautista-Agut moved through in five sets over Denis Istomin.
AUSSIE WATCH: THOMPSON'S HEARTBREAKING LOSS
Matt Ebden is locked in a torrid five-set battle with Thomas Fabbiano as he attempts to save Australia from a none-from-five start to the French Open in Paris.
Ebden nabbed the fourth set to level up his first-round match against the Italian at 4-6 7-5 2-6 6-3 before rain and darkness forced the suspension of play on day two at Roland Garros.
The West Australian will return on Tuesday hoping to avoid suffering the same fate as Bernard Tomic, Jordan Thompson and Ajla Tomljanovic, who all bombed out in round one.
Tomic earlier on Monday fell 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4 to Argentine lucky loser Marco Trungelliti, before Thompson endured another despairing five-set grand slam defeat at the hands of Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud.
Thompson's valiant fightback from two sets down proved fruitless as he bowed out 6-1 6-4 2-6 4-6 6-3.
Ebden, John Millman, James Duckworth and Alex de Minaur will look to restore Australian pride on Tuesday.
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