Paris, May 27 What Venus Williams would have given for a dash of deja-vu in Paris on Sunday.
The same Grand Slam tournament, the same opening round, the same opponent as last year, but at Roland Garros this year the American slumped out 6-4 7-5 to China’s Wang Qiang. The loss marked the first time 2002 runner-up Williams has lost her opening match here since 2001, and the only time in her career she has lost consecutive Grand Slam opening round matches.
“There really are no perfect days in tennis, so…” the 37-year-old mused enigmatically. “At this point I have just got to look forward. I just want to be my best, that is all… nobody plans on this.”
If Sunday’s result marked a low point for Venus, it represented the best win of Wang’s career, and one for which she was good value.
A flustered Jelena Ostapenko became only the sixth female Grand Slam champion to fall at the first hurdle of her title defence when she lost to Kateryna Kozlova. Never at ease on the Roland Garros main show court, the world No. 5 slumped to a 7-5 6-3 defeat to a Ukrainian opponent who had won both the pair’s previous meetings. Not since Anastasia Myskina went down in the opening round in 2005 has the French Open lost its women’s champion so early, and the 20-year-old slipped off court, her head bowed, ruing what she called a “terrible day”.
Ostapenko joins Myskina, Steffi Graf, Jennifer Capriati, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Angelique Kerber who all lost as Slam champions on the first run of their defences. — Reuters
Day 1 Highlights
Johanna Konta’s campaign ended in disappointment yet again as the 22nd seed was beaten 6-4 6-3 by
Paris, May 27
What Venus Williams would have given for a dash of deja-vu in Paris on Sunday.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori, playing in his first Major since last year’s Wimbledon, showed no signs of a wrist injury that has plagued him in the past few months as he eased past Maxime Janvier 7-6(0) 6-4 6-3.
France’s Gael Monfils found his rhythm as the match wore on to prevail 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-1 over compatriot Elliot Benchetrit. French No. 1 Lucas Pouille defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-2 6-3 6-4. Home favourite Alize Cornet beat Sara Errani 2-6 6-2 6-3.
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the tournament with an elbow injury.
Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov beat lucky loser Mohamed Safwat 6-1 6-4 7-6(1). Fourth seed Elina Svitolina defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-3
Alexander Zverev rocked up at the French Open looking like one of the ballboys with his salmon pink shirt but once he started wielding his racquet, it was clear he was not there to follow orders as he thrashed Ricardas Berankis 6-1 6-1 6-2.
Sloane Stephens showed how phenomenal her game can be when her “heart and body” are “connected”, as she walloped Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-2 6-0.
Monday’s main matches
Women: 8-Petra Kvitova vs Veronica Cepede Royg; Danielle Collins vs 2-Caroline Wozniacki; Andrea Petkovic vs 29-Kristina Mladenovic; 28-Maria Sharapova vs Richel Hogenkamp; Laura Siegemund vs 15-CoCo Vandeweghe; Barbora Krejcikova vs 6-Karolina Pliskova
Men: Rogerio Dutra Silva vs 20-Novak Djokovic; 1-Rafa Nadal vs Simone Bolelli; Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs 23-Stan Wawrinka; Andreas Seppi vs 27-Richard Gasquet; 7-Dominic Thiem vs Ilya Ivashka
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