Nick Kyrgios hailed Australia’s “unbelievable” start to the French Open after leading six through to the second round at Roland Garros.
Kyrgios and fellow seeded flagbearers Samantha Stosur and Bernard Tomic, along with teenage ace Thanasi Kokkinakis and exciting young imports Daria Gavrilova and Ajla Tomljanovic all advanced in Australia’s best start to the claycourt major in five years.
“It’s unbelievable,” Kyrgios said after outclassing Denis Istomin 6-3 6-4 6-3 in his first outing as a grand slam seed.
“I am really, really happy with Thanasi getting through. Bernard surprised me a little bit today. He fought really well and Dasha (Gavrilova) has been playing some really good tennis, and Sam as well.
“All in all, it was a pretty good day for the Aussies.”
Riding high after claiming her first title of the year in Strasbourg at the weekend, Stosur swept past American Madison Brengle 6-1 6-3 in 77 minutes.
“It was a good start. I guess I was in control of the match and it was on my racquet,” Stosur said.
“I just had to keep concentrating, keep doing the things that were working and I thought I did pretty well.”
Stosur’s victory thrust the 26th seed and former finalist into a meeting on Wednesday with French wildcard Amandine Hesse, who earlier eliminated Jarmila Gajdosova in three sets.
Still struggling with a virus that forced his withdrawal from last week’s Nice Open, Tomic dug in for an impressive 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Italian qualifier Luca Vanni.
“It was not easy. He beat me before, so I was very happy to win,” Tomic said.
“I wasn’t feeling that good. Still sick. I’m getting better, but still a little bit down. So it was tough out there.
“Everything felt much, much longer than it was. I was really feeling the fatigue out there. Happy I won in the end.”
Tomic’s first victory at Roland Garros since 2012 and Kokkinakis’ 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 success over Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili set up a second-round showstopper between the Davis Cup teammates.
The reward for Wednesday’s victor is a likely third-round shot at world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
“Yeah, I’d love to get a crack at Novak, but Bernie is a tough task,” Kokkinakis said after claiming his first-ever win at Roland Garros.
“I’ve got to go out and try and play the ball. I know his game and he knows mine.
“I think we know what each other is going to try to do.”
A quarter-finalist at Wimbledon and the Australian Open in the past 10 months, Kyrgios next faces British qualifier Kyle Edmund and has a golden opportunity to book a third-round blockbuster with Andy Murray.
“I’ve tried not to think about it, but it is hard not to,” Kyrgios said.
“On social media, I see it every day – Kyrgios v Murray, third round – and I hadn’t even won a round yet.
“So I have probably thought about it.”
Tomljanovic crushed compatriot Casey Dellacqua 6-2 6-2 in 62 minutes to set up a second-round clash German 11th seed Angelique Kerber, while Gavrilova added to Australia’s triumphant day with 6-1 7-6 (7-3) victory over Swede Johanna Larsson.
The Russian-born 21-year-old’s maiden grand slam win earned her a crack at 20th-seeded German Sabine Lisicki.
Like Dellacqua, Jarmila Gajdosova, Sam Groth and Marinko Matosevic all crashed out on day two, but James Duckworth will be looking to continue Australia’s flying start when he plays Italian qualifier Andrea Arnaboldi on Tuesday.
HOW THE AUSSIES FARED AT THE FRENCH OPEN ON MONDAY (PREFIX DENOTES SEEDING)
27-Bernard Tomic bt Luca Vanni (ITA) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4
29-Nick Kyrgios bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-3 6-4 6-3
Thanasi Kokkinakis bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-2
Marinko Matosevic lost to Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 6-1 6-2 6-4
Sam Groth lost to 21-Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-3 6-3
Women’s singles, first round
26-Samantha Stosur bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-1 6-3
Daria Gavrilova bt Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-1 7-6 (7-3)
Ajla Tomljanovic bt Casey Dellacqua 6-2 6-2
Jarmila Gajdosova lost to Amandine Hesse (FRA) 2-6 6-3 6-2
AUSSIES IN ACTION ON TUESDAY
James Duckworth v Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA)