Naomi Osaka’s shock withdrawal was the biggest talking point at Roland-Garros but there was plenty of drama on the court as well.
It was a poor day for former women’s grand slam champions with Bianca Andreescu, Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko all knocked out in the opening round.
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Muguruza, the 2016 Roland-Garros winner, was outplayed 6-1 6-4 by Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, with the 12th seed racking up 40 unforced errors in her earliest exit at the tournament.
Andreescu became the highest women’s seed to fall in Paris so far – going down to Tamara Zidansek in a marathon match. The 2019 US Open champion went down 6-7(1) 7-6(2) 9-7 to the Slovenian.
It was a sudden turn of events for the the 20-year-old Canadian, who served for the match at 5-4 in the deciding set, but Zidansek broke back before missing a match point of her own.
The World No.85 Zidansek eventually capitalised on Andreescu’s errors, winning in three hours and 20 minutes. Andreescu’s build up was hardly helped by having to pull out of the Madrid and Rome tournaments after testing positive for COVID-19 but she refused to use that as an excuse.
“I think I prepared super, super well for this tournament. That’s why to me it’s very disappointing, because I thought I could go far,” Andreescu told reporters.
“It sucks right now for me and I can just right now learn from it, because that’s what life’s all about.
“Hopefully the hard work that I did put in today and over the past couple of weeks will really show for the grass, for the hardcourt season.”
The 2017 Roland-Garros winner, Jelena Ostapenko, also crashed out after losing 6-4 4-6 6-3 to last year’s runner-up Sofia Kenin.
It means six female grand slam champions are out after the first round following Osaka’s withdrawal and losses for Svetlana Kuznetsova and Angelique Kerber yesterday.
Serena Williams avoided the carnage but had to dig deep in the first set, saving two set points before going on to beat Irina-Camelia Begu 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 in the first scheduled night session in French Open history.
The 39-year-old squandered a 5-2 lead in the first set and then was down 6-4 in the tiebreaker before winning four straight points to claim the first set.
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