Halep Escapes 1st Round Upset; Serena, Maria Up Thursday at French Open
by Staff | May 31st, 2018, 8:37 am

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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20 Comments for Halep Escapes 1st Round Upset; Serena, Maria Up Thursday at French Open

RZ Says:

No. 31 Mihaela Buzarnescu – this player has somehow escaped my attention and I was surprised to see an unfamiliar name as a seed. Has anyone watched her play?

Humble Rafa Says:

Becker man has divorced his wife. By now, his divorce count is higher than his grand slam titles.

jalep Says:

RZ – I have seen Buzarnescu a few times and she’s impressive. She has been around since 2004 playing ITF tournaments and had a lot of injuries. She continued to play the lower lever tournament and got her PhD at the same time. Finally at age 30 she is healthy and zoomed up the rankings in 2017. I first noticed her last fall. But in 2018 she has kept winning and has herself up inside the top 40…enough to get seeded and now she’ll meet Elina Svitolina for the first time.

Buzarnescu is capable of surprising Elina – not sure about winning the match but could give Elina trouble, like she did Petra Kvitova in the Prague final recently :


Hope Buzarnescu can remain healthy – so she can continue all this tennis career success finally at age 30.

RZ Says:

Thanks Jalep. PhD – impressive! I’ll try to tune in to her match.

jalep Says:

Good grief, RZ!! uh boy.

Dr. Buzarnescu did it. Knocked out our Svitolina.
The Romanian was playing so freely with joy and confidence.

At least you can relax (I think) because Thiem plays Berretini (who is he?)

Van Persie Says:

Dr. Buzz wanted to quit tennis at the beginning of last year. Friends borrowed her mòney (she payed them back at the end of last year, a good year for her)to play IT Fs again. No help from Romanian tennis Fed, no sponsors. She still plays with tennis rackets bought from Internet, 2nd hand.

I am following her since last year. Plays smart.

Well done, Buzz! :)

Margot Says:

jalep: a quick check revealed you did not back Dr Buzz in your bracket, me oh my, if you had gal, you would’ve ben flying! Dom’s opponent is big, strong and flashy but inconsistent, feel sure Dom will be OK, but he sure is vulnerable to the old drop.

jalep Says:

But I did think about it and it was tempting, Margot. I’m just not smart enough or lucky enough, Margot. As you know. Yep, I woulda flown up above Big Al and Kpuppy maybe lol…

Dr. Buzz is an inspirational story. And Best of Luck to her for continuing on. I could see her out-maneuvering Madison Keys next round.

Also am troubled over Kontaveit maybe taking down our Petra…we shall see. I’m waiting for that match.

RZ Says:

@Jalep – I don’t think I can relax even if Dom is playing someone he should have an easy time with. Us Murray fans are used to being put through the ringer so the nerves are natural. :-)

Margot Says:

RZ: Eek! The hefty Italian, who looks as if he’d be more than at home in a rugby scrum, just took the second set.

jalep Says:

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, RZ 😄

Jumped off the Dom Bandwagon and found myself cheering for Stef and Shapo more than the “old” ones, Sascha and Dom.

Not that don’t still like Dom. There’s just so many new ones coming along. And really this Barrettini looks nice maybe too… lol

It’s an mini Italian invasion on the men’s side – Cecchinatto, giving PCB trouble too.

RZ Says:

Margot – Dom is filling the role that Andy used to play with our nerves.

jalep Says:

Hefty Italian, Margo LOL

jalep Says:

Margot, I mean. Sorry darling.

RZ Says:

@Jalep – I never judge anyone for who they root for, unless they root for Berdych LOL. I’m also on the Shapo bandwagon (he’s so much fun to watch) and the Tsitsi-bus. But I prefer to drive the Team Thiem train.

Margot Says:

I’m finding this a really exciting time TBH so many exciting young players to look out for
Jalep: of course I forgive you for “Margo” but for calling Sascha and Dom “old”! Never!
RZ: Tsitsi-bus? Love it! I’m on. He’s going places. And agree with you, what a boring old world it would be if we all cheered for the same people. It’s how you support them that counts, and it’s not by dissing everyone else either.

RZ Says:

I blinked and apparently in that short time Dom went from 3-3 to 6-3 in the 3rd. Yay! Now to close it out in 4…

jalep Says:

🤣 they are old news — Sascha and Dom. lol

We have to keep up – news ones are dropping from the sky in both ATP and WTA!

jalep Says:

RZ, I think the Italian storm is over for Dom.

But PCB lost to Cecchinato, I see.

This tie break – Monfils wins the TB. Dang it. I pick Monfils to win one match only. But he’s very much alive and well.

Three very good ATP matches going on right now… not sure how this will end for my bracket picks.

Khachanov vs Pouille could be a long one!

jalep Says:

Margot, agree. I love the tennis right now!

Tomorrow tho….may change my mind when my picks, KaPlisko loses to Maria, and Julia loses to Serena. The only grace saving point there is that we get Maria vs Serena 😜

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