This year’s Australian Open champions on the men’s and women’s sides never made it out of the first round at Roland Garros.
Following Stan Wawrinka’s exit Monday, on Tuesday former French Open champ Li Na bailed out of Paris lost in a claycourt cloud of self-doubt, losing 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 to No. 103-ranked Kristina Mladenovic of France.
“The problem is myself. I don’t think I’m doing well on the court,” the Chinese world No. 2 said. “And also, even during the match, I don’t think totally what I should do, like especially I didn’t follow the game plan…In my mind, I didn’t have any idea how to play the match…I gave it away.”
Mladenovic hasn’t advanced past the second round in any tournament this year, but won the French Open junior girls’ championship in 2009.
Another car crash occurred when No. 13 seed Caroline Wozniacki took the court against Belgian Yanina Wickmayer. Fresh off getting dumped by golf boyfriend Rory McIlroy after the wedding invitations had gone out, and fighting a number of injuries, the former No. 1 is likely not too saddened by the opportunity to exit the Paris media spotlight.
“Obviously, you’re not prepared for something like this and it came a bit as a shock,” said Wozniacki after asking the media for questions focusing solely on her match. “I just tried to prepare the best that I could, and really tried to focus on my match and on what I had to do out there.”
Wozniacki competed in only one claycourt warm-up event due to wrist and knee injuries.
“I felt a little bit rusty, and it wasn’t really a pretty match,” she said. “In general I’m positively surprised about how [the injuries] held up.”
Top 10 players successfully through to the second round on Tuesday were No. 4 Simona Halep who defeated Russian Alisa Kleybanova 6-0, 6-2; No. 6 Jelena Jankovic who needed three sets to subdue Canadian Sharon Fichman 5-7, 6-1, 6-3; and No. 10 Sara Errani who ground down American Madison Keys 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.
Other seeded winners were No. 11 Ana Ivanovic, No. 15 Sloane Stephens, No. 21 Kirsten Flipkens, No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova, No. 23 Lucie Safarova, No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who outlasted Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm in three, No. 26 Sorana Cirstea who came from a set down to beat Canadian qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak, and No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Another upset was orchestrated by Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor who topped No. 30 Klara Koukalova 7-6(4), 6-2.
Other unseeded winners of note were Italian Camila Giorgi, Americans Alison Riske and Coco Vandeweghe, and qualifiers Heather Watson of Britain and Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens.
On the men’s side one of the hottest players went out in first-round play on Tuesday when the towering “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic served No. 11 seed Grigor Dimitrov off the court in straight sets 6-4, 7-5, 7-6(4).
“I just couldn’t find the rhythm, and I couldn’t make any of the little opportunities that I had in the match,” said Dimitrov, who was on the receiving end of 22 aces. “So it’s something to obviously learn from, but in a way was one of those days that you can’t control anything. It happens.”
Karlovic was not too concerned afterwards with looking forward in the draw.
“Now I’m just going to relax a little bit, enjoy, and have a beer,” the Croatian said.
Other seeds exiting Tuesday were No. 16 seed Tommy Haas, and No. 21 Nicolas Almagro, both succumbing to injuries.
Haas retired leading Estonian Jurgen Zopp 5-2 in the first set.
“I felt it on one shot at 5-2, and that was it,” Haas said. “I felt a little something in the shoulder. I couldn’t really do the motion anymore that I need to create power and to feel good. Nobody knows your body as well as yourself, so it’s tough to understand from the outside. But I just know that something is not right…I need some rest and more rehab and will see if I can get it back on track again.”
Almagro retired trailing American Jack Sock 5-0 in the first set.
“I came here knowing I would not be 100 percent, for sure, but I thought I could be at 60, 70, 80 percent, and I would try to do my best,” said Almagro, suffering from a foot injury for more than a month. “In the first set, I felt it again and the pain was terrible. It was impossible to keep playing.”
Sock’s draw opens up and he will next meet either American Steve Johnson or France’s Laurent Lokoli, whose match was suspended due to darkness with Johnson leading 3-1 in the fifth.
Top 10 seeds moving into the second round were No. 5 David Ferrer who eased past Dutchman Igor Sijsling in straights, and No. 7 Andy Murray who needed four sets to get past Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev.
“It was windy, especially at the start. You want to dictate as many points as you can but when it’s breezy, it’s tricky to stick to your tactics,” said Murray whose droll humor was on display. “Have I found a coach? Hopefully soon. I’m trying but not many people want to work with me so it’s not that easy.”
Other seeded winners were No. 12 Richard Gasquet, No. 19 Kevin Anderson, No. 23 Gael “Force” Monfils in four over Victor Hanescu, No. 24 Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, No. 28 Philipp Kohlschreiber, and No. 32 Andreas Seppi.
Matches to watch for on Wednesday at Roland Garros are (2) Novak Djokovic vs. France’s Jeremy Chardy, (4) Roger Federer vs. Diego Sebastian Schwartzman, (10) John Isner vs. Mikhail Kukushkin, (13) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, (15) Mikhail Youzhny vs. Radek “The Worm” Stepanek, (25) Marin Cilic vs. Tobias Kamke, (29) Venus Williams vs. Anna Schmiedlova, (7) Maria Sharapova vs. Tsvetana Pironkova, (1) Serena Williams vs. Spanish riser Garbine Muguruza, (20) Alize Cornet vs. former No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend, an upset alert in (16) Sabine Lisici vs. Mona Barthel, and (18) Genie Bouchard vs. Julia “Gorgeous” Georges.
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