The 5th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas made a winning start at Roland Garros. The finalist from two years ago defeated Jiri Vesely 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 in three hours and 13 minutes, prevailing in the fourth set's closing stages to avoid a dangerous decider.
Vesely raised his level after the second set, taking the third and creating four set points in the fourth set's tie break. He squandered them, and Tsitsipas prevailed 9-7 to survive a massive scare. Stefanos played better behind the first and second serve, facing seven break points and getting broken three times.
He turned 35% of the return points into 11 break chances, seizing four and feeling mighty relieved in the end. The Greek landed 58 winners and 30 unforced errors, producing efficient tennis in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and earning his victory in that area.
Jiri played his first ATP match since the last year's US Open and made a perfect start. The Czech produced four comfortable holds and grabbed an early break after the Greek's forehand error.
Stefanos Tsitsipas prevailed over Jiri Vesely in four sets in Paris.
Vesely moved 5-3 up and served for the opener in the tenth game. Tsitsipas made one last push and broke back at 15 to prolong the set. A left-handed sprayed a forehand error while serving for the set at 5-6 and offered his rival two set points.
Vesely netted a backhand on the first to drop four straight games and lose the opener 7-5 after 48 minutes. Stefanos served well in the second set and created two break points in the sixth game with a smash winner. Jiri saved them before missing a routine volley on the third to give his opponent a break.
Tsitsipas confirmed it with a hold at love for 5-2 and held at 15 at 5-3 with an ace to wrap up the set and build a massive advantage after an hour and 25 minutes. Still pushing strong, Vesely delivered five comfortable holds in the third set and waited for a chance on the return.
Tsitsipas denied a break point in the eighth game with a service winner and served to stay in the set at 4-5. He sprayed a backhand error and gave Vesely two set points. Jiri seized the first following Stefanos' terrible forehand to wrap up the set 6-4 and force the fourth.
They traded breaks in games three and four, and Tsitsipas faced the first ultimate challenge in the eighth game. He denied two break points with winners and moved closer to the finish line after earning three break chances in the next one.
Vesely saved them and held for 5-5 and more drama. The set went into a tie break, and Jiri moved 6-3 in front and earned three set points. Stefanos denied them and erased the fourth with a service winner for 7-7. The Greek forced the Czech's error for 8-7 and his first match point. Stefanos cracked a forehand crosscourt winner to seal the deal and move into the second round.