Turn the clock back to 25 June 2013 and Frederic Cattaneo upset the odds to earn his place in the second round of the men’s singles at the BNP Paribas Open de France, after defeating Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez, who was then the world ranked No. 5.
Fast forward a year and today the fortunes were turned as Fernandez, now the world No. 4, advanced to the round of 16. Meanwhile Cattaneo, handed another tough first round draw, bowed out to Japan’s world No. 1 and defending champion Shingo 61 60 as the fourth Super Series event on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour got underway in Paris.
Cattaneo was not the only player hoping to revive previous successes in Antony as Fernandez beat Dutchman Ricky Molier 61 63.
Three-time ITF World Champion Molier has a much longer association with the Open de France than many players in the draw. After being injured in a motorcycle accident he played his first international tournament in 1993 and on his first visit to Antony in 1994 he bowed out in the first round to Frenchman Pierre Fusade, now the tournament director.
Molier subsequently won the first of fourth French Open titles in 1997, the year after winning the men’s singles gold medal at the Atlanta Paralympic Games, but will need to wait another year before attempting to progress again after making his comeback to the sport earlier this year.
This year’s first day of play saw all the first round matches in the top half of the men’s draw being completed and while the full draw includes eight of the world’s top 10 men, six of the eight players through to the second round in the top half are either current or former top 10 players, with Kunieda going on to face Sweden’s former world No. 2 Stefan Olsson on Thursday, when London 2012 bronze medallist Ronald Vink will also face Belgium’s current world No.5 Joachim Gerard.
Famin and Chene bolster French hopes
It was a mixed opening day for the French players in the women’s singles, with Charlotte Famin and Emilie Chene taking the hopes of the home nation into the round of 16, where the seeded players will also begin their challenges.
Three weeks after making her Grand Slam debut at Roland Garros, Famin’s return to competition in Paris resulted in a 60 60 win over Poland’s Katarina Wojcieszak, but Colombia’s Johana Martinez and Austria’s Margir Fink made their experience county to defeated higher ranked French opponents Emmanuelle Morch and Pauline Helouin.
Seven of the world’s top 10 women head the women’s singles draw, with the seeds beginning their challenges on Wednesday.
Eight of the world’s top 10 ranked players are in the field for the quad singles and while they all have byes, Italy’s Alfredo di Cosmo, Maximilian Laudan of Germany and Patrick Sappino of France all came through qualifying.
However, perhaps the most eye-catching results on the first day of the quad singles were the two comfortable wins for former world top 10 players Anders Hard and Dorrie Timmermans-van Hall, who booked last 16 meetings with Brits Jamie Burdekin, the third seed, and Antony Cotterill, the eighth seed.
Patrick Ben Uriel also came through his all-Israeli first round match to set up a meeting with top seed and defending champion David Wagner of USA.
BNP Paribas Open de France Latest Draws
Order of Play - Wednesday, 25 June 2014