The Latest: Djokovic improves to 17-0 in French Open 1st Rd
PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the French Open (all times local):
Novak Djokovic is now 17-0 in first-round matches at the French Open.
The No. 1-ranked Djokovic opened his quest for a 19th Grand Slam title and second in Paris by defeating Tennys Sandgren of the United States 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in just under two hours on Tuesday night.
Djokovic saved all six break points he faced and compiled a total of 33 winners in the last match of the clay-court tournament’s first round.
Djokovic will face Pablo Cuevas next.
The match against Sandgren was in Court Philippe Chatrier as part of the new scheduled night sessions at the French Open. It was played without spectators in the stands, though, because of a 9 p.m. local curfew as part of COVID-19 restrictions.
Carla Suárez Navarro has made her return to Grand Slam competition after being treated for cancer.
The 32-year-old from Spain left the tour last year after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and announced in April that her chemotherapy treatments were done.
Suárez Navarro’s first match back was in the French Open’s first round on Tuesday.
She came close to victory before losing to Sloane Stephens 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 at Court Simonne Mathieu in a contest that lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours.
American teenager Coco Gauff has won her first match as a seeded player at any Grand Slam tournament.
The 17-year-old Gauff erased set points before pulling out the opening tiebreaker and went on to beat Aleksandra Krunic 7-6 (11), 6-4.
Gauff next faces Wang Qiang, who happens to be the woman she beat in straight sets in the final of the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, Italy, on Saturday.
That gave Gauff — who also won the doubles title there — her first clay-court singles title and pushed her up to No. 25 in the WTA rankings. That career best made Gauff the youngest American woman to make her Top 25 debut since Serena Williams in 1998.
Gauff is seeded 24th at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal’s bid for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title has started with a straight-set victory at the French Open.
Nadal twice was a point from dropping the third set against Alexei Popyrin but eventually held on there and wound up winning the first-round match at Court Philippe Chatrier 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
Nadal has now won 26 consecutive sets at Roland Garros dating to the 2019 final that he won.
He won last year’s title at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament for his record-extending 13th trophy in Paris. That also allowed him to tie Roger Federer for the men’s record with 20 major singles championships.
Venus Williams was runner-up at Roland Garros against her sister 19 years ago but has now lost her opening match at the clay-court major for the fourth year in a row.
The American veteran’s 24th appearance at the French Open ended in a 6-3, 6-1 defeat against Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia.
Seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev has lost in the first round of the French Open.
The 23-year-old Russian lost to German player Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 3-6, 6-4.
It’s the first time Rublev has lost so early at Roland Garros since his debut at the tournament in 2017.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova says on Instagram that she has pulled out of the French Open because of an ankle injury.
Kvitova says she fell and hurt her ankle during “post-match press requirements” after her first-round victory.
She calls it “incredibly bad luck” and hopes to recover in time for the grass-court season.
Wimbledon begins on June 28. She won that Grand Slam tournament in 2011 and 2014.
The 11th-seeded Kvitova saved a match point before coming back to beat Greet Minnen 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-1 on Sunday at Roland Garros.
She was a semifinalist in Paris in 2012 and 2020.
Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty overcame a strong challenge from Bernarda Pera to win her first match at Roland Garros since she claimed the 2019 French Open title.
Barty played with her left thigh bandaged and struggled before getting medical treatment at the start of the deciding set. Barty improved and eventually made the most of Pera’s lack of consistency to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Barty says “I just keep fighting. I just keep trying.”
Barty won in Paris two years ago and decided not to defend her title last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first-round match between Ashleigh Barty and Bernarda Pera at the French Open has been stopped so the top-ranked Australian can receive medical treatment.
On her return to Roland Garros two years after she claimed the title in Paris, Barty played with her left thigh bandaged and struggled in her movement. She called a physio on court after her American opponent leveled at one-set apiece.
Barty played 13 matches on clay in the build-up to the French Open, winning 11. But she was forced to retire in the quarterfinals in Rome because of an injury to her right arm.
Teenage wild card Oceane Babel’s inexperience was too much for her to overcome on her Roland Garros debut.
Facing fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, the 17-year-old from France led 5-2 in the second set but eventually lost 6-2, 7-5 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Babel had not played a WTA-level match before. Svitolina said it was also challenging for her since she did not know anything about Babel.
“I just knew she was left-handed and I have to be ready for anything,” she said.
Australian Open runner-up Jennifer Brady breezed past Anastasija Sevastova to reach the second round and match her best performance at the French Open.
The 13th-seeded American, who has never reached the third round at Roland Garros, won 6-3, 6-3 after breaking Sevastova at love in the final game.
Brady is not a clay specialist. She played only one tournament on the surface last year, losing her opening match at Roland Garros. She achieved her best result on clay earlier this season when she made it to the third round in Madrid in the buildup to the French Open.
Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty returns to Court Philippe Chatrier to play her first match since she won the title at Roland Garros two years ago.
Barty decided not to defend her title in Paris last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The right-handed Australian will start her campaign against Bernarda Pera of the United States.
Play conditions in Paris are excellent, with hot and dry weather expected to last throughout Day 3.
In the men’s draw, 13-time champion Rafael Nadal will start his bid for a record 21st major title against Alexei Popyrin. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in last year’s final, will be up against Tennys Sandgren in the night session.
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