French Open 2022, 2nd Round, Thursday, 26.05.2022

A co-favourite for the title is about to be eliminated in the 1st round? While a number of top stars have come through with flying colours to open the French Open 2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas had a very different story in his first match.

The Greek is lucky to still be in the tournament and will now be rewarded for his unfocused performance with a match against a qualifier. Read my Kolar Tsitsipas tip to see what I think the underdog can do!

It was the typical Stefanos Tsitsipas you so often see at the start of a tournament. The world No. 4 barely broke serve, acted erratically and let Lorenzo Musetti take two sets from him.

It was only in the third set that he finally found his line, which he was able to carry through to the end. 5-7, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, that was just about enough! Five-setters at Grand Slams are by no means a rarity for Tsitsipas.

Two years ago, he was threatened with elimination in round 1 before the Greek finally got back on track. His exit in the semi-finals? In five sets against Novak Djokovic. It was also the best in the world who prevented Tsitsipas’ greatest triumph in 2021.

With victories over John Isner, Pablo Carreno Busta, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, the 23-year-old had fought his way into the final, where he won the first two sets against Djokovic. It was all the more bitter that he only won the silver medal in the end.

Tsitsipas is playing quite a strong 2022, not for nothing he reached the final in Rome a few days ago. Sometimes he beats his opponents on equal terms, sometimes he loses narrowly. But defeats against underdogs count less and less for him.

After his near-flop against Musetti, he wants to spare the nerves of his fans a bit more in the 2nd round. Since Zdenek Kolar will start as a qualifier, you can quickly guess what odds will be sent into the race.

The Czech has been trying his luck on the big stage for about five years, but always failed in the qualification. This time the decisive moment was on his side, he is playing his first main draw!

He defeated Federico Gaoi, Altug Celikbilek and Franco Agameona before facing Lucas Pouille. In an intense match, six of the seven break chances taken were a big key to success.

Kolar celebrated a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 and continues to write his debut. The last few tournaments of the world number 134 do not really give an insight into his performance, as the opponents were ranked far below Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Although he was among the top-seeded players in almost all Challengers, he could not achieve any noteworthy success. Many people are rightly asking: Will Tsitsipas teach us a lesson?

My Kolar Tsitsipas tip

After his feat of strength, Stefanos Tsitsipas should take a deep breath. Having just averted elimination, he is aware of the improvement in performance that is now expected of him.

The qualifier made his debut in the main draw, but nobody really knows what he can do. Since he is free to play and Tsitsipas still has to digest round 1, I’m betting:

Tsitsipas wins, but it will be more than 26.5 games!