x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

French Open: Women seeds have it easy in opening round

Li Na also through to second round of the year's second grand slam tournament along with former world No 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova.

Maria Sharapova had an easy first round game last night. Julian Finney / Getty Images
Maria Sharapova had an easy first round game last night. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska eased into the second round of the French Open with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Israel’s Shahar Peer yesterday.

With cold and blustery conditions replaced by sunshine, last year’s Wimbledon finalist needed only 57 minutes to brush aside the challenge of Peer and next meets up-and-coming American Mallory Burdette.

There was an even quicker win for Maria Sharapova. The Russian brushed aside Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei 6-2, 6-1 in 52 minutes, a minute less than the 15th-seeded Roberta Vinci, who saw off French wild card Stephanie Foretz Gacon 6-3, 6-0.

Italian Vinci is half of the world’s No 1 doubles pair, having won three of the last four grand slams with partner Sara Errani, who reached both finals at Roland Garros last year.

Radwanska had her thigh heavily strapped, but it is a nagging shoulder problem, which caused her to miss the tournament in Brussels last week, that is more of a worry.

The Pole said: “On the clay it’s always a little bit worse. I think you’re pushing a little bit more than usual.

“It was much worse after Rome. So I decided to have a week of rest and just practise and do rehab, and go to Roland Garros. I think it was a good move.”

Sixth-seeded Li Na, the champion in 2011, was given a tough time by Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues, but came through in straight sets, winning 6-3, 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Medina Garrigues has 10 clay-court titles to her name, more than any other active player, and she led by an early break in the second set before Li turned things around.

The match ended on a sour note when, in the penultimate game, umpire Louise Engzell penalised Medina Garrigues under the hindrance rule for a shout when she hit the ball.

Medina Garrigues argued her case, citing Sharapova’s grunting in her defence, but to no avail and Li served out the victory.

The spat came two weeks after Medina Garrigues was criticised for fluffing up new balls to slow them down when she played Serena Williams in Madrid.

Former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki has been on a terrible run, losing five straight matches on clay, but she ended that streak with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over rising British teenager Laura Robson.

Two seeds went out, with out-of-form 28th-seeded Tamira Paszek falling to Melanie Oudin while 24th-seeded Julia Goerges lost 7-6, 6-0 to Slovakian qualifier Zuzana Kucova.

Goerges has been suffering from a wrist injury, but it was nevertheless a first main-draw victory at a grand slam for 30-year-old Kucova.

She does not even have a singles ranking after being off the tour for 18 months.

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