World no. 6 and the Australian Open semi-finalist has made a winning start in Paris, defeating Maximilian Marterer 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 48 minutes, becoming the first player with 30 ATP wins in 2019. The 20-year-old Greek had the upper hand all the time, giving away only 14 points on serve and never facing a break point.
The German stood no chance in sets one and two, losing serve twice in each to find himself two sets to love down after an hour before picking up the pace in the decider where he faced only one break point to stay in touch with Stefanos before the tie break.
There, Stefanos grabbed two mini-breaks for a 7-4, finishing the match with 36 winner and 20 unforced errors for the best possible start of the tournament. The 11th seed Marin Cilic secured the 115th Grand Slam victory, toppling Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 in two hours and ten minutes at the event where he played in the quarters in 2017 and 2018.
Marin struggled on the second serve, hitting 32 winners and 36 errors and offering eight break chances to the Italian. Thomas converted three but that would never be enough after his performance, staying on eight winners and spraying more than 30 errors to play against 20 break points and give serve away eight times.
The Croat grabbed three breaks in the opening set and had to shift into a higher gear in set number two to find the finish line, trailing 5-4 and offering Fabbiano to close the set on own serve before rattling off the last three games for a 7-5, including breaks in games ten and 12.
Carried by this momentum, Marin marched towards the win in the third set, breaking Thomas three times and booking the place in the second round. Roland Garros junior champion Alexei Popyrin claimed the third Grand Slam win, defeating the fellow youngster Ugo Humbert 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 in two hours and 52 minutes after a close battle.
The Aussie saved seven out of nine break points and clinched three breaks, fending off three set points in the third set tie break and sealing the deal with a single break in game four to advance into the last 64 despite 50 unforced errors.
The 20-year-old Casper Ruud earned the third Grand Slam triumph, ousting a former semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 7-6, 6-0 in two hours and 13 minutes. Casper lost serve only once and delivered six breaks from seven opportunities, leaving the Latvian far behind in sets one and three and keeping his focus in the second when Ernests played his best tennis to reach the tie break without facing a break point.
Once Ruud won it 7-2, he was the only player on the court in the rest of the match, notching a bagel in set number three for a promising start. Matteo Berrettini lost the opening set against Pablo Andujar before claiming a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory in three hours and 28 minutes, getting broken only twice and scoring six breaks to overcome the deficit and run towards the finish line in the last three sets.
The struggling Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov had another nightmare on the court, surviving a stern Janko Tipsarevic test to carve a 6-3, 6-0, 3-6, 6-7, 6-4 victory in three hours and two minutes. Grigor converted nine from 17 break points, opening two sets to love lead in less than an hour before Janko started to climb back, leveling the overall score and staying competitive until 4-4 in the decider when Dimitrov took the last two games to scrapes past and reach round two.
The 7th seed Kei Nishikori needed an hour and 59 minutes to dismiss Quentin Halys 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, stealing more than half of the return points and delivering eight breaks for straight sets victory, the 20th of the season and 86th at Grand Slam level.