Veteran players Tsonga, Simon receive French Open wild cards

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PARIS – Veteran French players Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon have been handed wild cards to play in the main draw at the French Open.

A former Australian Open runner-up, Tsonga announced earlier this season that he will retire after the clay-court Grand Slam event. Play begins at Roland Garros on May 22.

Simon said he is retiring at the end of the season after 20 years of playing professional tennis.

Tsonga and Simon are both 37 years old and helped France win the Davis Cup in 2017.

Tsonga reached the semifinals twice at the French Open, in 2013 and 2015. He has won 18 ATP titles and made it to the Australian Open final in 2008, losing to Novak Djokovic.

Tsonga reached a career-high ranking of No. 5 in 2012 but has dropped to No. 263 following his latest lengthy injury layoff. Simon has 14 career titles and a best ranking of sixth in 2009. He is ranked 160th.

“We wanted them to live their final Roland Garros in the main draw, in front of their fans,” tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said. “And also to thank them for what they have done throughout their career.”

The 12 wild card entries for the main draw announced Tuesday were allocated to French players. In addition to Tsonga and Simon, the French tennis federation said Lucas Pouille, Corentin Moutet, Manuel Guinard and Gregoire Barrere were also invited to play at Roland Garros.

In the women’s draw, the wild cards were awarded to Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, Fiona Ferro, Elsa Jacquemot, Leolia Jeanjean, Chloe Paquet and Harmony Tan.

On Monday, Katie Volynets and Michael Mmoh earned the U.S. Tennis Association’s wild-card entries. The USTA and French tennis federation offer reciprocal wild-card invitations for each other’s Grand Slam events.

The French federation has a similar agreement with Tennis Australia. The two wilds-card entries granted to Australian players have yet to be announced.

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.