Paris, France , 23 May 2022 | Darren Parkin

Jason Kubler has maintained his winning ways at Roland Garros, advancing to the second round with a straight-sets win over Denis Kudla.

The Australian qualifier, playing for the first time in the main draw in Paris, will next face either No.10 seed Cameron Norrie or French wildcard Manuel Guinard for a spot in the last 32.

Kubler was one of five Aussies in action on Sunday, yet the lone winner; Christopher O’Connell, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin and Astra Sharma were ousted from the clay-court major.

Roland Garros marked the only major at which Kubler had not previously appeared in the main draw, but he has now won four straight matches in the French capital to improve his 2022 clay-court record to 20-4.

And his 7-6(5) 7-6(2) 7-6(3) triumph over the experienced Kudla reflected his confidence, given he was forced to overcome multiple challenges and was on the receiving end of the American’s 51 winners.

In the first-set tiebreak he rebounded from 3-5 down to win four straight points, then let slip a 4-1 lead in the second set, and a 5-3 lead in the third, before steadying to prevail.

The win, clinched with a backhand winner after three hours and 14 minutes, is just his second career Grand Slam victory; in 2018 he upset 19th seed Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the second round of the US Open.

Kubler’s second-round opponent will be determined when Norrie and Guinard clash on Monday.

Earlier on Sunday, O’Connell’s campaign ended in a four-set loss to Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia.

Making his second appearance at Roland Garros, O’Connell would rue an inability to capitalise on opportunities as Bedene claimed a 2-6 4-6 7-6(5) 1-6 victory.

Bedene converted seven breaks of serve from 13 opportunities, with O’Connell converting only two of his 12 chances.

The Slovenian made just 38 unforced errors compared to 54 from O’Connell who picked up a Challenger title on clay in Croatia last month.

O’Connell lost the first two sets but revived memories of last year’s epic first round fightback against Tommy Paul at Roland Garros when he took the third set in a tiebreak.

Bedene re-established control immediately in the fourth, breaking twice on the way to a 6-1 result.

Later in the day session, 22-year-old Popyrin went down to veteran Italian Fabio Fognini.

Fognini was marginally better in most key statistics over three tight sets, with a clear advantage in break point conversion.

Both players created seven break point chances, and while the Australian couldn’t land any of his until trailing 1-4 in the third set, Fognini capitalised four times, once in each of the first two sets and twice in the third.

Staring down the barrel at 0-4 down in the third, Popyrin launched a mini revival to collect 14 of the next 17 points and draw it back to 3-4 30-30 before Fognini steadied to close it out 6-4 7-5 6-4.

Popyrin has reached the third round of a major on four occasions but has drawn Rafael Nadal and Fognini in daunting first round match-ups at Roland Garros in the past two seasons.

Kokkinakis and Sharma, meanwhile, were each able to claim a set in their opening Roland Garros matches, before exiting to higher-ranked opponents.

The world No.85 Kokkinakis pushed Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas to four sets over four hours and 11 minutes, before the Spaniard seized a 6-4 4-6 6-4 7-6(5) victory.

Sharma, who is world no.144 compared to her 71st-ranked opponent, took the first set from Russia’s Varvara Gracheva but was unable to maintain her winning momentum.

Aussies in action – Roland Garros

RESULTS
Men’s singles, first round
[Q] Jason Kubler (AUS) d Denis Kudla (USA) 7-6(5) 7-6(2) 7-6(3)
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) d [WC] Chris O’Connell (AUS) 6-2 6-4 6-7(5) 6-1
Fabio Fognini (ITA) d Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-4 7-5 6-4
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-4 4-6 6-4 7-6(5)

Women’s singles, first round
Varvara Gracheva (RUS) d Astra Sharma (AUS) 4-6 6-4 7-5

COMING UP
Men’s singles, first round
[19] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Hugo Gaston (FRA)
James Duckworth (AUS) v Mikael Ymer (SWE)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [5] Rafael Nadal (ESP)
John Millman (AUS) v [27] Sebastian Korda (USA)

Women’s singles, first round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v [5] Anett Kontaveit (EST)
[WC] Daria Saville (AUS) v [Q] Valentini Grammatikopoulou (GRE)

Men’s singles, second round
[Q] Jason Kubler (AUS) v TBC

> READ: 14 Aussies to contest doubles at Roland Garros 2022

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