Defending champion Ostapenko, Venus Williams suffer shock French Open exits

Latvia's fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko became only the second defending champion to lose in the first round of Roland Garros when she slumped to a shock 7-5, 6-3 defeat by Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine on Sunday.

The British No. 1 has never won a match in Paris in four appearances in the main draw. Also, the Ukrainian made less unforced errors - 22, while the Latvian made 48.

All in all, it was quite a Day 1 at the only Grand Slam site that gets things started on a Sunday.

Ostapenko was dethroned by 66th-ranked Kateryna Kozlova on the first day of the Roland-Garros.

Fellow American Sloane Stephens, seeded 10th, had no problems in her opener, breezing to a 6-2, 6-0 win over Arantxa Rus of Netherlands.

Ostapenko added that she suffered a leg injury after the Italian Open in Rome earlier this month, and she was not 100 per cent fit.

Wang beat Williams 6-4 7-5, coincidentally in 100 minutes.

In all the 4 Slams, it's only the 6th time in the Open era that the defending champion has perished at the first hurdle.

Venus Williams crashed to a straight-sets defeat in the opening round, losing 6-4 7-5 to China's Qiang Wang on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Serena Williams, owner of three French Open titles and 23 major singles trophies overall, returns to Grand Slam action for the first time since winning the 2017 Australian Open - and first time since giving birth to a daughter last September. "Then you lose a match, and it is no longer possible to be positive". I think it's great. "In general I played maybe like 20 per cent of what I can play", said Ostapenko.

Alize Cornet advanced in her homeland, while fellow seeds Barbora Strycova and Anett Kontaveit came through their opening matches.

Among the women, No. 1 Simona Halep shook off a slow start in a postponed first-round match to defeat Alison Riske of the US 2-6, 6-1, 6-1, while second-round winners included reigning major champions Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens, along with No. 4 Elina Svitolina, No. 8 Petra Kvitova and No. 13 Madison Keys.

Safwat got into the field as a "lucky loser", someone who failed to make it out of the qualifying rounds but is given a berth when another player withdraws.

That was all part of the eight-game run for Svitolina that gave her that set and a 2-0 lead in the second. "We try to play our best".

Other winners on the first day of Roland-Garros included Japan's Kei Nishikori, the second-seeded German Alexander Zverev and France's Gael Monfils.

"I wasn't at my best, he played with a lot of spin", said the former world No. 1, who dropped serve three times against the 134th-ranked Brazilian.

  • Stacy Allen