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Roland Garros 2023: Tsitsipas made to sweat by Vesely in French Open

Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was made to work hard for more than three hours to book his spot in the French Open second round with a 7-5 6-3 4-6 7-6(7) win over Czech Jiri Vesely on Sunday.

The Greek, runner-up in Paris in 2021, suffered an early break in his second service game and found himself 5-3 down against Vesely, ranked 455th due to a long injury absence.

But he broke the 29-year-old, playing in his first tour-level tournament since last year’s U.S. Open after struggling for more than a year with a hamstring injury, twice in a row to clinch the next four games and close out the first set.

Tsitsipas had initially struggled with the tall left-hander’s awkward spin but was now stretching his opponent with deep cross-court forehands, bagging the second set with another break.

The World No. 5, chasing his Grand Slam title, thought he had hit his stride, comfortably holding serve in the third but Vesely, who has played in only two Challengers since returning last month, doggedly refused to budge.

He snatched the third set on his first opportunity with frustrated Tsitsipas sinking an easy forehand into the net on set point before the pair traded early breaks in the fourth.

There were no signs of rustiness for Vesely and the Czech kept up the pressure to earn four set points in the tiebreak.

He could not convert them, however, allowing Tsitsipas to clinch victory on his first match point with another crosscourt forehand winner.

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