Efficient effort from Jack Sock

Chris Fowler discusses the well-defined system that prepares the ball kids of the French Open.

PARIS -- On Monday, Facundo Bagnis needed 65 games to advance to the second round. A day later, Jack Sock accomplished the feat in a mere five games, thanks to a retirement by No. 21 seed Nicolas Almagro, who has struggled with a left foot injury in recent weeks.

AP Photo/J Pat Carter

Jack Sock reaches the second round of the French Open for the second straight year.

Two weeks ago in Rome, the 21-year-old Nebraskan was serving for the qualifying match that would deliver him into the main draw ... and lost.

Hey, life isn't always unfair.

"Fortunate, obviously, to move to the next round," Sock said afterward. "Unfortunate for him. I was able to go out and play a solid five games."

And you have to like his chances going forward -- all the way into the fourth round -- based on Tuesday's surprising carnage. Not only is Almagro out of the way, but so is No. 16 seed Tommy Haas, who played only seven games against Jurgen Zopp of Estonia before retiring. Sock next faces the winner of the late match between Steve Johnson and French qualifier Laurent Lokoli. If he wins that one, the third-round opponent would be the winner of Zopp versus Dusan Lajovic.

Not exactly Rafa and Roger, eh?

"I reached the third round of the US Open the last two years, so I feel like I know how to play these matches," Sock said. "If the opportunity's there, if I can win a few more matches, I'll definitely be ready for the second week."

A magnificent seven

No fewer than seven U.S. women are into the second round at Roland Garros. The Williams sisters and No. 15 seed Sloane Stephens aren't exactly surprises, but raise your hand if you saw Varvara Lepchenko, Taylor Townsend, Coco Vandeweghe and Alison Riske coming.

Apparently, the Americans' well-documented allergies to the red clay -- at least for this fortnight -- have been greatly exaggerated.

Riske, a 24-year-old who was born in Pittsburgh and lives in Atlanta, lost four of the first five games against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, a native German who lives in Florida but plays under the flag of Croatia. And then Riske won 12 of the remaining 17 games to collect a tidy 7-6 (2), 6-3 victory.

"I felt like I got off to a little bit of a slow start," Riske said later, "but that wasn't really helped by the fact she didn't miss a ball. She was playing really well. I figured if I weathered the storm I would have my opportunities and that's kind of how it unfolded. I definitely ended it better than I started it.

"I had to be aggressive and had to go for it. Otherwise she was going to take it to me. I had to step up aggressively."

Tuesday's other American winners: Stephens took down Shuai Peng 6-4, 7-6 (8), and Vandeweghe beat Iveta Melzer 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Madison Keys and Shelby Rogers were on the losing side.

Serena and Venus Williams play Wednesday, along with Townsend and Lepchenko.

The U.S. men, meanwhile, advanced four to the second round: John Isner, Sam Querrey, Donald Young and Sock. The first two will be in action Wednesday.

The seven-year itch

The men's event had already lost its No. 3 and No. 9 seeds (Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori) and then Ivo Karlovic carved up another top player.

Karlovic took down No. 11-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (4). The 35-year-old from Croatia had 22 aces and scored his first win at Roland Garros since 2007.

"You always going to get chances against him, that's the one thing," Dimitrov said of the 6-foot-11 Karlovic. "Today he was all over the court. He was just hitting his shots, penetrating every volley, low slice, serving really good. Whatever I was trying to do was just not going my way."

A year ago, Karlovic was confined to bed rest with a bout of viral meningitis. Now he's into the second round here coming off an appearance in the final at Dusseldorf. It was the first opening-round loss for Dimitrov this year, after 10 straight wins in opening-round matches and a 13-0 streak going back to last year and his affiliation with coach Roger Rasheed.

Etcetera

No. 4 seed Simona Halep -- who came in with a 1-3 career record at Roland Garros -- won the first 10 games of her match with Alisa Kleybanova and coasted to a 6-0, 6-2 victory. Halep won 57 of 86 points, nearly twice as many as Kleybanova. In 12 months, Halep has climbed from outside the top 50, winning seven titles ... Kimiko Date-Krumm, 43, pushed 22-year-old Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to three sets but fell 6-3, 0-6, 6-2. Of the 128 players in the draw, 66 were not yet born when she made her Grand Slam debut here in 1989 ... No. 7 seed Andy Murray dispatched Andrey Golubev 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 ... When the draw was unveiled Friday, the Ana Ivanovic-Caroline Garcia first-round match looked like the pick of the litter. But it wasn't even close. The No. 11 seed prevailed 6-1, 6-3 over Garcia, a 20-year-old from France. French favorites Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils both advanced to the second round.

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