World No. 1 Simona Halep was forced to come back from a one-set deficit in her opener on Wednesday at the French Open, stopping an upset bid from American Alison Riske 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.
“I had a slow start because it’s always tough to start this tournament,” Halep said. “It’s a pleasure to come here and to play. So always I feel nervous in the beginning. But it was good that I came back so strong. Then I just didn’t think about the result or about the match. I just wanted to relax my arms, because I was moving pretty well also at the beginning, but my arm was very tight and I couldn’t hit the ball as I wanted.”
The remainder of the Top 10 in action easily advanced on Wednesday as No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki rolled Spanish qualifier Georgina García Perez 6-1, 6-0, No. 4 Elina Svitolina defeated Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3, 6-4, No. 8 Petra Kvitova bageling Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 6-0, 6-4, and No. 10 Sloane Stephens popping Polish qualifier Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-2.
Wozniacki can re-take the No. 1 ranking by winning the title at Roland Garros.
“It was definitely a good match,” Wozniacki said. “I neutralized her serve, which was the main thing. And then from the baseline, I felt like I was in control for most of it. It felt good out there. I think there is no real easy matches ever, and especially on clay. So I’m just out there trying to keep my rhythm and trying to play my best tennis.”
Svitolina said she was handling her role as one of the favorites in Paris.
“She was playing really aggressive and not dropping her level. I think for young girl as her, it was a really, really good level,” Svitolina said after the match. “I was just trying to be really solid, really good with my level. I didn’t serve that bad, but she really was returning well and all the credit is to her. In the end, I’m very happy I could break back and finish the match in two sets.”
Svitolina will next meet No. 31 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Upset-makers Wednesday were Greece’s Maria Sakkari defeating No. 23 Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5, 6-3, and French qualifier Pauline Parmentier outfoxing countrywoman and No. 32 seed Alize Cornet 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2.
Lower seeds advancing in straight sets were No. 13 Madison Keys, No. 14 Daria Kasatkina, No. 21 Naomi Osaka, No. 25 Anett Kontaveit, No. 26 Barbora Strycova, and No. 31 Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Highlights Thursday at Roand Garros include (1) Halep vs. (WC) Taylor Townsend, Serena Williams vs. (17) Ashleigh Barty, (28) Maria Sharapova vs. Donna Vekic, (6) Karolina Pliskova vs. Lucie Safarova, and (30) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Sam Stosur.
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