French Open: Ashleigh Barty retires due to injury; Karolina Pliskova upset

The 2021 French Open lost the top seed in the women’s draw as world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty retired in her second-round match against Magda Linette. At the time of Barty’s call to stop play, Linette was leading 6-1, 2-all.

The Australian looked to be struggling with an injury to her left hip, the same injury that had bothered her in her first-round match against Bernarda Pera. Barty barely had any say in the opening set and the Pole built a quick lead for herself and eventually took the lead in the match. Barty looked to be better composed in the second set and held her opening two service games. However, Barty’s physical condition looked hampered and the 2019 French Open titlist decided not to continue any further.

In the third round, Linette will play 25th seed Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian defeated Australian wildcard Astra Sharma 6-2, 6-4 in their second-round match.

Fourth seed Sofia Kenin also moved into the third round with a 7-5, 6-3 win over fellow American and qualifier, Hailey Baptiste. For a spot in the fourth round, Kenin will now play another compatriot in Jessica Pegula. The 28th-seeded Pegula beat Tereza Martincova 6-3, 6-3.

French Open: Sloane Stephens downs Karolina Pliskova

Sloane Stephens posted the biggest upset of the day as she ousted ninth seed Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-1 in an hour and 31 minutes. The two were locked in a tough battle in the opening set but the Czech’s game unravelled in the second set. On the other side of the net, Stephens’ game remained as solid as ever.

Stephens, who reached the final here in Paris in 2018, hit 22 winners and 17 unforced errors. Pliskova, meanwhile, had 17 winners and 38 unforced errors. In the third round, the former world no. 3 will take on 18th seed Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic. Muchova defeated Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-4 in their round-of-64 clash.

Muchova’s compatriot, Barbora Krejcikova also notched an upset in her second-round match. Krejcikova defeated the 32nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-3 in just 68 minutes. The Czech will now play fifth seed Elina Svitolina for a spot in the pre-quarter-finals. Svitolina came from 2-4 down in the second set to defeat Ann Li 6-0, 6-4.

Varvara Gracheva and Marta Kostyuk will vie for a place in the round-of-16 of the French Open after getting through their respective second-round matches. The Russian won against Camila Giorgi 7-5, 1-6, 6-2 in two hours and 11 minutes while the Ukrainian needed an hour and 39 minutes to beat Saisai Zheng 6-3, 6-4.