Alexander Zverev, the man seen as a potential French Open champion, crashed out in the first round yesterday as world No 1 Andy Murray and former winner Stan Wawrinka moved through.
Zverev, just 20 and fresh from his sensational Rome Masters demolition of Novak Djokovic, slumped to a 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2 defeat to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, 13 years his senior.
“I played absolute s**t, that’s why I lost,” Zverev said bluntly.
“But life goes on, it’s not a tragedy. In Rome I played fantastic, I won the tournament. Here I played bad, I lost first round. That’s the way it goes.”
In a match controversially suspended on Monday at one set each, Zverev was defeated in a fog of mistakes and despondency.
The beanpole German committed 50 unforced errors and drew jeers from the Philippe Chatrier court crowd when he hammered his racquet into the clay in frustration.
Left-handed Verdasco, playing his 14th Roland Garros and 56th consecutive major, had lost to Zverev in the first round on clay in Madrid earlier this year.
But he is an experienced Grand Slam competitor, making the last 16 in Paris on five occasions.
“I practised really hard before this match against a great player like Alexander and I am super happy to be here,” Verdasco said.
Murray, last year’s runner-up to Djokovic, shrugged off a second-set wobble to defeat Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-0.
“He goes for his shots, he plays very aggressively and quite close to the baseline,” Murray said.
Third seed and 2015 champion Wawrinka was an easy winner, defeating Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-2 7-6 (8/6) 6-3.
Romanian third seed and 2014 runner-up Simona Halep reached the French Open second round with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Slovakia’s Jana Cepelova.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson beat Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 7-6(4) 6-3 7-6(4).