Garcia Escapes Wang Test At French Open, Svitolina Back; Swiatek, Gauff, Rybakina Tues.

by Staff | May 29th, 2023, 6:17 pm
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French favorite Caroline Garcia escaped Xiyu Wang with a tough 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 on Chatrier in her Roland Garros first round opener.

Garcia was down early to the powerful Wang but played a good breaker. However the young Chinese star rallied to force a third and then took to Wang breaking to win the match in 2:38.

“It was a big first round,” Garcia said. “It was just a question of a few points here and there. She has lots of things she does well. She has a good game that’s very aggressive. I had to keep calm and seize the very few opportunities that I had.

“I’m very happy, very happy about my attitude. I was calm. I was positive. This was something I wasn’t really good at in the recent past.”

Former finalist Sloane Stephens opened the day on Chatrier with an emphatic 6-0, 6-4 win over former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova.

The 30-year-old American won a lower level event and then made the semifinals last week in Strasbourg.

“I needed to get a lot of matches under my belt. This is my favorite surface. So last year, my clay season wasn’t great, but I played amazing at Roland Garros last year, and this year I really wanted to get matches and play a lot and to see where that got me,” Stephens said.

Former semifinalist Elina Svitolina returned to Roland Garros with impressive fashion cruising past the 2022 semifinalist Martina Trevisan 6-2, 6-2. The former No. 3 just won her first title as a mother Saturday in Strasbourg, and now knocks out the 26 seed. She’s won her last six matches.

“I am super excited about the win and the comeback, of course,” said Svitolina. “Couldn’t be better prepared for the Grand Slam after winning in Strasbourg. Played great tennis.”

The 28-year-old star has a different mindset now that she has different priorities and much different expectations.

“First, I have different team right now,” she said. “I’m a mum right now. So there’s few things different and it feels different as well. You know, I’m not a top-10 or top-20 player now. I’m outside of 100, so I’m like top 200 now I think after Strasbourg.

“Also, less pressure, I would say, because right now I’m just gaining, gaining points, and coming back to the level, coming back to the tour. So everything is kind of old and new for me right now.”

Miami winner Petra Kvitova continued her clay struggles falling to 22-year-old Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-3, 6-4.

Gold medallist Belinda Bencic’s return from six weeks off due to a hip was cut short by qualifier Elina Avanesyan 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Bencic said afterward she was pleased her leg held up.

Elsewhere, No. 14 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia crushed Wimbledon semifinalist Tatjana Maria 6-0, 6-1. Former champion Jelena Ostapenko overcame rallied in the second past Tereza Martincova 6-3, 7-5. The 23rd-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova bested Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova 6-1, 2-6, 6-1.

Former semifinalist Madison Keys sent out the upset-minded 38-year-old Kaia Kanepi 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. The 22nd-seeded Donna Vekic ousted Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 7-5. Bernarda Pera continued Anett Kontaveit’s slide with 7-6(8-6), 6-2 win.

Former NCAA winner Peyton Stearns upended Katerina Siniakova 7-6(9-7), 6-2. Former finalist Marketa Vondrousova had an easy victory over Alycia Parks 6-4, 6-0. And Anna Karolina Schmiedlova hammer No. 11 seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-1.

In first round action tomorrow No. 1 Iga Swiatek opens her title defense against Cristina Bucsa. Swiatek won their only contest at the 2023 Australian Open 6-0, 6-1.

Rome winner Elena Rybakina will meet teen Brenda Fruhvirtova, No. 6 Coco Gauff clashes with Rebeka Masarova, No. 7 Ons Jabeur battles Lucia Bronzetti, former champ Barbora Krejcikova faces Lesia Tsurenko, No. 18 Victoria Azarenka battles Bianca Andreescu.

Rome finalist Anhelina Kalinina draws Diane Parry, No. 30 Sorana Cirstea meets Jasmine Paolini, No. 31 Marie Bouzkova will meet Xinyu Wang and No. 32 Shelby Rogers squares off against Petra Martic.

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