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Krejcikova, Osaka, knocked out in Paris

3 minute read

Defending champion Barbora Krejcikova and four-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka have both exited the French Open at Roland Garros in the opening round.

NAOMI OSAKA of Japan.
NAOMI OSAKA of Japan. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Barbora Krejcikova has become only the third defending champion to be knocked out in the opening round at Roland Garros after losing to 97th-ranked Frenchwoman Diane Parry.

Also exiting the French Open at the first hurdle was four-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka, an unhappy return a year after pulling out of the claycourt tournament to protect her mental health.

Angelique Kerber, chasing a career grand slam having won the other three majors, nearly followed them out of the tournament but survived two match points.

Iga Swiatek, the world No.1 and favourite, has progressed, along with fellow former grand slam champs Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, Emma Raducanu, Bianca Andreescu.

Krejcikova's defeat is not so much a shock as it sounds as this was her first match in three months because of an injured right elbow.

Nevertheless, she started sharply winning eight of the first nine games to take a one-set lead only for Parry, 19, to reel off six straight games to tie the match before winning 1-6 6-2 6-3.

Parry received raucous backing from spectators shouting for her at Court Philippe Chatrier, where the noise echoed under the retractable roof pulled shut because of rain.

"It's a dream for me. It was always a dream to play on this court, with the French crowd to support me. They clearly pushed me to victory today," Parry said. "I'm the happiest person right now."

Krejcikova, in contrast, was in tears as she described how she 'hit a wall'.

She added: "I just collapsed physically. It was tough because I didn't play the matches. Matches are different to practices. I tried to prepare the best way I could."

However, she added she was 'happy' just to have made it to Paris as at one stage she thought her elbow injury would prevent her competing at all.

The only other women to lose in the first round when defending the French crown were Anastasia Myskina in 2005 and Jelena Ostapenko in 2018.

Osaka lost 7-5, 6-4 to Amanda Anisimova, a 20-year-old American who beat the Japanese in the third round at the Australian Open in January.

Osaka double-faulted twice on break point, to go 5-6 down in the first set and 3-4 down in the second. Each time Anisimova made the break count.

After a delay due to rain Kerber recovered from a bad start to defeat Poland's Magdalena Frech 2-6 6-3 7-5 in a two-hour 28-minute epic.

The 34-year-old Kerber, who has never gone beyond the quarter-finals on the Paris clay, was 3-5 down in the third set. She faced two match points at 4-5 down but broke back, held, then broke again to win.

Top seed Swiatek, the 2020 champion, extended her winning streak to 29 matches beating Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 6-0 in 54 minutes, the longest run by a woman since Serena Williams won 34 in a row in 2013.

Kvitova, a two-time semi-finalist in Paris, beat Anna Bondar 7-6 (7-0) 6-1 while Azarenka, a semi-finalist in 2013, defeated Ana Bogdan 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-1) 6-2.

Briton Emma Raducanu won on her Roland Garros debut but was made to work for her victory as she came back from a set down to beat Czech qualifier Linda Noskova 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-1.

Andreescu found her rhythm after a slow start to defeat Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure 3-6 7-5 6-0.

With agencies

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