French Open favour for Jordan Thompson

Jordan Thompson will hope the withdrawal of his first round opponent, teenage sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime, is the slice of French Open luck he needs.

jordan thompson of australia plays a backhand in his match against nicolas kicker of argentina during the 2018 australian open at melbourne park in melbourne australia
JORDAN THOMPSON of Australia plays a backhand in his match against Nicolas Kicker of Argentina during the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Pat Scala/Getty Images

Jordan Thompson has been spared a first-round date with teenage sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime after the Canadian's late withdrawal from the French Open.

The Australian had been cursing his luck when drawn to meet the in-form 25th seed on Sunday as he hopes to transfer his improved ATP form to the big stage.

But the Lyon finalist was a late scratching after picking up a groin injury in the decider of the Lyon Open lead-up event on Saturday.

World No.69 Thompson will instead play Spanish lucky loser and world No.133 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in what could be the slice of fortune the battle-hardened Thompson had been chasing.

The fringe Davis Cup talent used a bullying run on the second-tier Challenger Tour last year to launch back into the top 100, moving as high as No.60 earlier this year.

Thompson said his 52 Challenger-level victories in 2018 - the second most in tour history - were exactly what he needed after coming back from two sets down only to lose his Paris opener last year.

"Match fitness and belief, I was starting to play the tennis I was capable of," he said of that run of form.

"You can't buy confidence in this game and now I've transferred that over hopefully I can keep it going."

Thompson went a step further this year in reaching the last 16 of the Miami Open, falling in two tight sets to two-time major finalist Kevin Anderson after beating Karen Khachanov, Grigor Dimitrov and Cameron Norrie.

Thompson and compatriots John Millman, Matthew Ebden, Bernard Tomic, Priscilla Hon, Daria Gavrilova and Ajla Tomljanovic will all play Tuesday matches, while Astra Sharma and former finalist Samantha Stosur are still to play on Monday

Australian 21st seed Alex de Minaur and women's eighth seed Ashleigh Barty both had straight-sets victories on Monday, although Barty's came with a scare as she coughed up healthy leads in both sets.

Alexei Popyrin - Australia's only representative on day one - started impressively with a comeback four-set win over local hope Ugo Humbert.

Like Thompson, wildcard Hon is hoping to make the most of her good fortune after drawing qualifier Timea Babos.

The 21-year-old said she'd learnt from her loss to compatriot Sharma in the Australian Open first round earlier this year.

"I barely slept the two or three days beforehand and it got the better of me," she said.

"I cramped up in the second set - I never do that - so I'm trying to relax a bit more and not play the match in my head beforehand."

HOW THE AUSSIES FARED ON DAY ONE (PREFIX DENOTES SEEDING):

* Alexei Popyrin d Ugo Humbert (FRA) 3-6 6-3 7-6 (12-10) 6-3

ON DAY TWO:

21-Alex de Minaur d Bradley Klahn (USA) 6-1 6-4 6-4

8-Ashleigh Barty d Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-3 6-3

AUSSIES STILL TO PLAY ON DAY TWO:

* Astra Sharma v Shelby Rogers (USA)

* Samantha Stosur v Barbora Strycova (CZE)

ON DAY THREE:

* Ajla Tomljanovic v 3-Simona Halep (ROU)

* Daria Gavrilova v Aleksandra Krunic (SRB)

* Priscilla Hon v Timea Barbos (HUN)

* Bernard Tomic v Taylor Fritz (USA)

* John Millman v 5-Alexander Zverev (GER)

* Matthew Ebden v Gregoire Barrere (FRA)

* Jordan Thompson v Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP).


AAP