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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Two-time Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek rolled through eight straight games to win her opener, while 2021 champion Barbora Krejcikova fell in the first round to Lesia Tsurenko.

Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty

​​It was moving day in Paris and Iga Swiatek was directing traffic.

Smacking the sole of her sneaker with her Tecnifibre racquet to loosen clumps of clay, Swiatek shook off the rust, kick-started her aggression and rolled through eight straight games sweeping Spaniard Cristina Bucsa 6-4, 6-0 in her Roland Garros opener.

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World No. 1 Swiatek scored her eighth straight French Open win, improving to 22-2 lifetime in Paris.

Only Hall of Famer legends Chrissie Evert and Margaret Court own a higher winning percentage at Roland Garros in the Open Era than Swiatek.

The top-seeded Swiatek will play 23-year-old American Claire Liu in round two.

After a tense start that saw the pair combine for four breaks forging a 4-4 tie, Swiatek stepped it up.

Accelerating through her forehand, Swiatek trampolined her topspin off the terre battue to challenge Bucsa with the high ball. Swiatek broke again for 5-4 then served out the opening set at 30.

A sweeping Swiatek repeatedly pushed the Spaniard side-to-side in a commanding second set. Swiatek converted six of eight break points and more than tripled Bucsa's winner output (18 to 5) in a 73-minute victory. Swiatek, who retired from the third set of her Rome match against Elena Rybakina, raised her 2023 record to 29-6.

Tennis Express

On a day in which the two-time champion took a fresh first step—this was Swiatek's first French Open match wearing On shoes and clothes—moving onto round two, other contenders went in drastically different directions.

The first round was the last stop for 2021 singles and doubles champion, Barbora Krecjikova, who fell at the first hurdle.

Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko converted five of eight break points conquering Krejcikova, 6-2, 6-4 in 87 minutes.

Since defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to capture her maiden major in Paris two years ago, Krejcikova has not won a French Open singles match though she did reach the Australian Open fourth round in January.

Though Krejcikova remains the top seed in the doubles draw alongside longtime partner Katerina Siniakova, who also lost in the singles first round, her singles departure leaves Swiatek and 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko as the only former singles champions still standing in this French Open field. 

Several players have griped about the slow conditions and fluffy Wilson balls and while Elena Rybakina says the court is playing slower that didn't stop her from hitting through it.

Wimbledon champion Rybakina ripped nine aces against one double fault and won 30 of 39 first-serve points punishing 16-year-old Czech talent Brenda … Fruhvirtova 6-4, 6-2.

The reigning Rome champion improved to 29-7 on the season, second to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka for most wins on the WTA Tour. Rybakina, who is 8-2 on clay this season, said Paris' terre battue requires more patient point construction than Rome's red clay.

"It feels a bit slower [than Rome]," Rybakina said. "It's more difficult to make a winner, I would say, today at least, what I felt. Everything kind of returnable no matter how fast is the serve.

"I have to work a lot on the variation of the serve and also placement. Like world No. 1 Swiatek, whom Rybakina has beaten three times this year including on red clay at Rome, Rybakina opened the tournament clad in a new kit.

The long-time Yonex endorser is now wearing Yonex shoes and clothes after wearing adidas throughout much of her career.

"It just happened here. But I'm very good with adidas brand," Rybakina said. "It just I think not the first time when the player changes.

"As of today, I really like Yonex. Yeah, happy to continue with them."

Playing for a place in her third Grand Slam final in her last four major appearances, Rybakina will face another talented Czech teenager, Linda Noskova, in round two.

The 18-year-old Noskova defeated Danka Kovinic in her opener for first French Open main draw win.


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