It was a tough one for the defending champ.
Maria Sharapova had to sweat it out more than she had hoped, but she made it through and advanced to the second round of the French Open earlier today.
With the clouds obscuring the sky, Sharapova made 21 unforced errors and dropped her serve once in each set during a 6-2, 6-4 victory against 50th-ranked Kaia Kanepi. Not something we usually see from her.
The tennis star, who wore a long sleeved shirt, was seen coughing at times and Kanepi was not about to let that chance slide, she responded to her forehand attacks with strong groundstrokes. The Estonian athlete saved a match point in the final game before a double-fault gave Sharapova the much needed win. Kanepi gave it her all and the amount of errors by her opponent almost earned her an upset.
In other matches, former number two ranked and Wimbledon finalist three years ago Agnieszka Radwanska was not at her best and lost in the first round for the first time in eight years in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 showing against Annika Beck. “Maybe I’m getting older,” said the 26-year-old Radwanska. “I just want to forget about that and focus on grass.”
A potential opponent for Sharapova, eighth seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, advanced to the second round with a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 victory against 67th ranked Monica Niculescu of Romania. “I’m much more confident indeed compared to last year,” said Suarez Navarro, who lost in the last eight last year. “One of the big differences between this year versus last year is mentally. I know what I’m doing.”
Navarro has made it far in the past, she was a quarterfinalist both last year and in her French Open debut seven years ago. After the convincing victory, she made a lot of kids who attended the event very happy, signing autographs and all kinds of items they gave to her.
Angelique Kerber, who is currently seeded 11th, cruised to a victory against Timea Babos 6-0, 6-1. A former French open finalist also had a great victory, Samantha Stosur defeated Madison Brengle 6-1, 6-3 while fan favorite number 29 seed Alize Cornet had a huge comeback against Roberta Vinci 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Samantha Stosur, who is now playing great once again after reuniting back in April with former coach David Taylor, will be rested after not doing much in the first match. She struggled for most of 2015, winning only eight contests. The athlete decided to participate in Strasbourg last week and ended up taking the title, first of the year for her.
Cornet was in trouble early on but earned her first W in five attempts at the tournament, leaving the crowd amazed with her great comeback. After the first set, “I told myself, ‘Oh la la. I’m going to fail yet again,” Cornet said. “A super victory for me.”
Sabine Lisicki, the runner up at Wimbledon two years ago, also had a strong start at the only big event where she has not gotten very far. The 20th seed did not have to do much against 86th-ranked Monica Puig, in a 6-3, 6-2 victory. She closed the match in a little over an hour, 66 minutes to be exact.