What was billed as an opening-day classic between two old warriors turned into a damp squib as Stan Wawrinka crushed Andy Murray 6-1 6-3 6-2 at the French Open on Sunday.
The last time they met on Court Philippe Chatrier, in the 2017 semi-final, Wawrinka came through a five-set slugfest but this time it proved a painfully one-sided affair as Murray suffered his equal worst Grand Slam beating.
When the opening three games on a near-empty showcourt took around 20 minutes, another battle royal looked possible between the players who both own three Grand Slam titles.
But as 16th seed Wawrinka, champion in Paris in 2015, raised his game, Murray, who wore black leggings on a chilly evening, capitulated alarmingly with his trademark battling qualities conspicuous by their absence.
“I need to have a long hard think about it. It’s not the sort of match I would just brush aside and not think about it,” Murray, whose previous worst loss was a 6-3 6-2 6-1 hammering at the hands of Rafa Nadal at the 2014 French Open, told reporters.
“I need to understand why the performance was like that.”
Highlights of the first day at the French Open on Sunday:
1950 ZVEREV CRUISES PAST DENNIS NOVAK
Sixth seed Alexander Zverev, who finished runner-up at the U.S. Open earlier this month, began his Roland Garros campaign with a commanding 7-5 6-2 6-4 victory over Austrian Dennis Novak.
1920 SCHWARTZMAN ROLLS INTO ROUND TWO
Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman struck 32 winners as he raced past Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0 6-1 6-3 to book a place in the second round.