Battling a mild flu, Maria Sharapova opened her title defense at the 2015 French Open with a 6-2, 6-4 win over veteran Estonian Kaia Kanepi in Paris on Monday. Joining her in the second round were two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and Italian Open runner-up Carla Suarez Navarro. But it was the end of the road for 14th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and 15th seed Venus Williams.
In men’s singles, last year’s semi-finalist Andy Murray cruised into the second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Facundo Arguello. Fourth seed Tomas Berdych too had an easy win over rising talent, Yoshihito Nishioka.
A sick Maria Sharapova battles through
Maria Sharapova did not have the best of starts to her title defense on Monday. Looking short on energy, the Russian’s movement was far from perfect and her intense shrieks too were missing. But there’s no denying Sharapova’s fighting spirit even when things were not in her favour. Against a potentially tricky opponent Kaia Kanepi, Maria ground out a 6-2, 6-4 win to move into Round 2.
In her press conference, Sharapova admitted that she fell sick right before the tournament and hopes to get better soon.
“I got sick a week before the tournament (last year), not right before. So I guess that was a little bit better timing. But it’s just the way it is. I’m getting over it, and hopefully it will pass by soon.”
Azarenka off to a fine start
Victoria Azarenka who had to opt out of the French Open a year ago due to a foot injury, made a winning return at the claycourt Slam. With 27 winners, the Belarusian registered a 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain.
Radwanska and Venus bite the dust
The woes continued for Agnieszka Radwanska. The Pole who parted ways with Martina Navratilova after a brief coaching stint, is mired in a slump throughout the season. It was no different at Roland Garros as an extremely passive-looking Radwanska fell to an aggressive Annika Beck 2-6, 6-3, 1-6.
In an all American match-up, a sharp Sloane Stephens inflicted a 7-6(5), 6-1 loss on Venus Williams in extremely windy conditions. The French Open has not been Venus’s happy hunting ground in recent times as she has not been able to make it through to the third round since 2010.
Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych cruise
Men’s title contenders Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych began their campaigns with solid performances. The newly-married Murray who arrived in Roland Garros on the back of a 10-winning streak on clay, secured a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Facundo Arguello. Czech Tomas Berdych, meanwhile, was a 6-0, 7-5, 6-3 winner over qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka.
Other big names who won on French Open Day 2:
In women’s singles, eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro had a smooth 6-2, 6-2 victory over Monica Niculescu. Also winning was this season’s breakthrough player, Karolina Pliskova. The lanky Czech posted a 7-6(4), 6-4 triumph over Shuai Zhang. Stuttgart and Charleston winner, Angelique Kerber dispelled doubts about her fitness with a solid 6-0, 6-1 win over Timea Babos.
In the men’s section, 13th seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils kept alive local hopes with a 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-1, 7-5 win over compatriot Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Italian Fabio Fognini reigned supreme 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 over Japanese Tatsuma Ito. However, 11th seed Feliciano Lopez was not so lucky as he crashed out with a 6-3, 7-6 (9), 6-3 loss to world no. 73 Teymuraz Gabashvili.
Young guns rule
A host of talented rising stars made it through to Round 2 on Monday. Nick Kyrgios who stunned Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon last year and Roger Federer at Madrid this year, claimed a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over Denis Istomin. Fellow Aussies Bernard Tomic and Thanasi Kokkinakis also emerged victorious on Day 2.
Dominic Thiem who won his maiden ATP title just days back, downed Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3. Teenager Borna Coric who is the youngest player in the top 100, beat Sam Querrey 7-6(8), 6-3, 0-6, 6-3.
In women’s section, Daria Gavrilova who reached the semi-finals of the Italian Open, crushed Johanna Larsson 6-1, 7-6(3). Joining her in Round 2 were Ana Konjuh, Ajla Tomljanovic and Yulia Putintseva.
Stars to grace on Day 3:
It’s a highly anticipated Day 3 at the 2015 French Open. Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal will open his title defense while his biggest competitor Novak Djokovic will also start his bid. In women’s draw, 19-time major champion Serena Williams will be in action along with Petra Kvitova.