* Wawrinka and Nishikori fall in round one
* Djokovic through with a smile
* Nadal thrashes Ginepri
* Sharapova pretty in pink
By Robert Woodward
PARIS, May 26 (Reuters) - Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka was found seriously wanting on the wet clay at the French Open when he was beaten 6-4 5-7 6-2 6-0 by Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round on Monday.
The Swiss third seed threw away a 3-1 lead in the first set and even though he pulled level in the second, he always looked second best against a man ranked 41 in the world who has never gone past the third round at Roland Garros.
The surface on the Philippe Chatrier show court had been criticised by second seed Novak Djokovic for being too saturated after several days of rain, and Wawrinka got bogged down in the heavy conditions against an inspired opponent.
Djokovic had played the funny man as he slithered to a 6-1 6-2 6-4 win over Portugal’s Joao Sousa but defending champion Rafa Nadal slipped into his customary role of cold-blooded assassin on clay.
Nadal, bidding for his ninth title at Roland Garros, hunted down wildcard Robby Ginepri during a first set that ended 6-0 in the Spaniard’s favour.
The American greeted his capture of the first game of the second set with a clenched fist of mock celebration but defeat, while somewhat delayed, was inevitable as he folded 6-0 6-3 6-0.
Dark horse Kei Nishikori, the ninth seed, had been the day’s biggest casualty before Wawrinka’s demise when the Japanese slumped to a 7-6(4) 6-1 6-2 defeat by Slovakia’s Martin Klizan.
The start of play was delayed for about one hour, and Maria Sharapova managed to finish off fellow Russian Ksenia Pervak for the loss of only three games on the Philippe Chatrier show court before rain returned to stop play for another hour.
Djokovic was leading 4-1 at the time and, on the resumption, broke Sousa to love. He then recovered from 0-40 on his own serve to wrap up the first set with two crushing first serves.
Rain began to fall again with the Serb, who is strongly fancied to end Nadal’s hold on the title, preparing to serve for the set at 5-2. Djokovic sat, looking slightly ridiculous, in a white hooded waterproof jacket as the umpire decided whether to take the players off court.
Djokovic made a series of faces at the camera before inviting a ball boy to share his seat, and a soft drink. They chatted under a large umbrella to the amusement of the crowd.
When play resumed after five minutes, they shook hands politely before resuming their previous roles.
“It was a nice, fun time, something unusual for the grand slams,” said Djokovic.
“We waited for around 10 minutes in the pouring rain on the court, so I felt there’s something I should do and make a new friend. He accepted the offer to sit down, which I didn’t think he would do. So he’s very spontaneous little boy, and I hope I see him my next match.”
Djokovic, who beat Nadal in the Rome Masters final this month, also criticised the state of the court after several days of rain in the French capital. During his match, the players’ first serves kicked up sprays of wet clay.
“The court is not in great shape at the moment, balls get heavier, and the more difficult it is for you to move, to penetrate the shots. Everything becomes slower,” he said, “so it is more effort on your body.”
Nadal, playing on the Court Suzanne Lenglen, was held in check by world No.279 Ginepri for several games in the second set but his relentless power and attritional accuracy from the baseline proved too much for the 31-year-old American.
“Obviously coming from Tallahassee Challenger no one is hitting like that,” Ginepri told reporters.
The last few games were played in weak sunshine but the forecast is for further periods of rain during the first week of the second grand slam of the year.
The warmup on Philippe Chatrier featured seventh seed and 2012 champion Sharapova in fetching pink and Pervak in what looked like army camouflage trousers and jacket.
Winner of the Stuttgart and Madrid claycourt titles, Sharapova went on the attack early, moving her left-handed compatriot around the court to break at the first opportunity.
But a wild volley at the net, with the whole court open, allowed Pervak to break back before the four-times grand slam champion emerged with a 4-1 lead and took the set in 27 minutes.
Sharapova broke early in the second set and won 6-1 6-2 to show she had recovered from her thrashing by Ana Ivanovic in the third round in Rome.
Slovakian ninth seed Dominika Cibulkova, the Australian Open runner-up, beat France’s Virginie Razzano 7-5 6-0.
There were also wins for seeds Sabine Lisicki, last year’s losing Wimbledon finalist, Flavia Pennetta, the winner at Indian Wells this year, and Australia’s Sam Stosur who thrashed Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-1 6-1 despite playing with stitches in her leg following an accident in the gym last week.
Nishikori, coached by 1989 Roland Garros champion Michael Chang and tipped as one of the dangermen in the draw after an impressive claycourt season, crumbled to defeat against Klizan after serving for the first set at 5-3.
The injury-prone Japanese said he had not been able to practise enough after retiring in the Madrid Open final where he had been leading Nadal.
“It really sucks, I have to say. It’s tough for me, but I guess this is my tennis life. I have to take care of my body and injury will come again, for sure,” Nishikori said. (Editing by Martyn Herman)