There was no easing into this year’s French Open, where on Sunday the tournament lost its defending champion and a former No. 1 in the first round.
No. 5-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, who last year slapped her way to the final with abandon, this year found the spotlight too bright, falling under the “unbelievable pressure” to unheralded Kateryna Kozlova of the Ukraine 7-5, 6-3.
“I think it was terrible day at the office today for me,” the 20-year-old Ostapenko said. “I mean, in general I played maybe like 20 percent of what I can play. I made like 50 unforced errors and so many double faults, and couldn’t serve today. Everything together just brought me a really bad result. I had this unbelievable pressure. I felt that I’m not myself today on court. The day began not like in a nice way and I knew that something like that can happen but I was trying to be positive and to think positive, but in the end I couldn’t really do that.”
Ostapenko had lost to Kozlova in their two most previous meetings.
“I’m really disappointed and so angry,” Ostapenko said. “I mean, I’m, just, like really angry and I just want to turn back time. When I went on court today, I was, like — I had this unbelievable pressure, because the fans, they were supporting me a lot and I really wanted to play and to show them that I fight.”
Wang Qiang of China orchestrated a 6-4, 7-5 victory over No. 9 seed and 2002 finalist Venus Williams, a repeat of a first round match last year at Roland Garros that Williams won.
The 26-year-old Chinese player had 19 winners in the match to only 14 unforced errors.
“I think [Wang] just played well,” Williams said. “I mean, all the times we’ve played, she’s played great.”
No. 22 seed Johanna Konta was also an upset victim, falling to Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 6-3.
Top 10 seeds into the second round on Sunday were No. 4 Elina Svitolina topping Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-3, and No. 10 Sloane Stephens rolling lucky loser Arantxa Rus 6-2, 6-0.
Other seeded winners were No. 25 Anett Kontaveit who battle past Madison Brengle in three, No. 26 Barbora Strycova who beat Karumi Nara from a set down, and No. 32 Alize Cornet who did the same against Sara Errani.
Matches to look for on Monday at Roland Garros include (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Danielle Collins, (28) Maria Sharapova vs. Richel Hogenkamp, (15) CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Laura Siegemund, (23) Carla Suarez Navarro vs. former world No. 1 junior Ana Konjuh, and (13) Madison Keys vs. American compatriot Sachia Vickery.
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