x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

French Open: Schiavone and Kvitova into second round at Roland Garros

British hopeful Heather Watson progresses past Elena Vesnina as former Grand Slam champions ease through. Audio interview

Heather Watson returns a shot during the French Open
Heather Watson returns a shot during the French Open

Two former women's grand slam champions and a young British hope have reached the French Open second round as Rafael Nadal, seeking a record seventh men's crown, prepared to make his entrance.

The 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, seeded 14, defeated Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 6-1 while reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the fourth-seeded Czech, made even shorter work of Australia 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty, winning 6-1, 6-2 in just 54 minutes.

Kvitova now meets either Urszula Radwanska of Poland or Pauline Parmentier of France while Schiavone, 31 and last year's beaten finalist, advanced to a meeting with either Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium or Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria after ousting Date-Krumm - a decade her elder.

Date-Krumm broke serve in the opening game but thereafter the Japanese was unable to last the pace on a sparsely-populated but sunny Philippe Chatrier show court.

Guernsey-born Briton Heather Watson, who managed to reach the second round on her debut last year, thereby entering the top 100, got off to a flyer against Russian Elena Vesnina.

She romped through her opening set and stayed her ground to win 6-2, 6-4 for a likely match-up against Germany's 25th seed Julia Goerges.

Nadal was later going up against Italian journeyman Simone Bolelli while British fourth seed Andy Murray was starting his campaign against Japan's Tatsuma Ito.

Elsewhere in the women's tournament, second seed Maria Sharapova was taking on Alexandra Cadantu of Romania while 2002 champion Serena Williams, the fifth seed, tackles France's Virginie Razzano.

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