In the French Open tennis, defending champion Rafael Nadal has stormed into the second round, starting his bid for the record-breaking 21st Gram Slam title. The third seeded Spaniard defeated Australia’s 63rd-ranked Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 in the first-round match. Nadal will take on Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the second round. World number one Novak Djokovic also kicked off his bid for a 19th Grand Slam title with a straight sets win over US player Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.
Earlier, Swiss tennis maestro Roger Federer stormed into the second round beating Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4, 6-3. In the women’s draw, World No.1 Ashley Barty has cruised into the next round after beating American player Bernada Pera 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Fifth seed Elina Svitolina, recovered from a 2-5 second set deficit to beat French teenager Oceane Babel 6-2, 7-5. Venus Williams, playing the tournament for the 24th time and a runner-up 19 years ago, saw her 89th Grand Slam end at the first hurdle as Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova eased to a 6-3, 6-1 win over the 40-year-old American.
Meanwhile, Czech tennis Petra Kvitova sannounced that she’s withdrawing from Roland-Garros due to a freak ankle injury she sustained during her post-match media conference. World No. 11 Kvitova was scheduled to face Elena Vesnina of Russia in Round 2. Vesnina is automatically moving on to Round 3 due to Kvitova’s exit. Yesterday, Naomi Osaka withdrew herself from the French Open following the bitter fall-out from her decision to boycott all media activity at the Grand Slam event. The four-time Grand Slam winner and world’s number two tennis player was fined 15,000 US dollar.