French Open: Ashleigh Barty survives 1R duel against Bernarda Pera

Top seed Ashleigh Barty opened her 2021 French Open campaign with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win over American Bernarda Pera in the first round. Barty who’s playing in Paris for the first time since her 2019 winning run had to endure Pera’s resurgence in the second set before turning tables in the decider to advance in the draw.

In the opening set, Barty had a couple of break points in the first game but Pera resolutely held her serve. However, the next three games went the way of the receiver as first Barty broke Pera only for the American to break back as the world no. 1 tried to consolidate the break. From the fifth game onwards, Barty took an upper hand in the match as she broke Pera twice more to go up 5-2 in the set. A brief lapse from the 2019 French Open champion saw her getting broken back as she served for the set in the eighth game. But the second time around, in the 10th game, there were no further missteps from her as she claimed the opening set 6-4.

In the second set, Pera upper her level while Barty’s dipped on the other side of the net. The world no. 70’s angled shots reaped rewards for her even as Barty struggled with the timing of her shots. A break in the second game of the set allowed Pera to race ahead of her opponent and while she faced a break point while serving for the set in the ninth game, an error off Barty’s racquet helped her stay the course and take the set, on her second set point, 6-3.

The deciding set went Barty’s way as errors started creeping back into Pera’s game. On her part, Barty played patiently and kept drawing out errors off her opponent. The first break of serve in the sixth game allowed Barty to go up 4-2 in the set. Barty had a match point on Pera’s serve in the eighth game of the set as the American hit an unforced error while trying to serve to stay in the match. A second unforced error put paid Pera’s hopes of a comeback as Barty secured the win.

Barty hit 18 winners to Pera’s 32. However, while the American had 49 unforced errors, Barty had almost half that number at 25. In the second round, the Australian will play either Magda Linette or French wildcard Chloe Paquet.

French Open: Elina Svitolina tames French teenager Oceane Babel

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina took her place in the second round with a 6-2, 7-5 win over France’s wildcard entrant Oceane Babel. While the opening set went the Ukrainian’s way quite easily, Svitolina struggled in the second set. The 17-year-old built a 5-2 lead in the set before Svitolina brought her game back in order. The world no. 6 won five games in a row to complete the match in an hour and 16 minutes.

Svitolina finished with 21 winners to 28 unforced errors while Babel had 17 winners and 32 unforced errors. In the second round, Svitolina will take on Ann Li. Li won 6-1, 6-0 against Margarita Gasparyan in merely 46 minutes.

Maria Sakkari was among the early winners on the third day at Roland Garros. The Greek seeded 17th, defeated Ukrainian qualifier Katarina Zavatska 6-4, 6-1 in the first round. Next up for Sakkari is Italy’s, Jasmine Paolini. Paolini beat Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 7-5, 6-1 in their opener.

Jennifer Brady won against Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-3. The 13th seed from the US will now face France’s Fiona Ferro in the second round. Ferro beat Chinese Taipei’s qualifier En-Shuo Liang 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in their first-round clash.

Tunisian Ons Jabeur defeated Yulia Putintseva 7-5, 6-2 in the first round. The 25th seed will play Australian wildcard, Astra Sharma, in the round-of-64. Sharma got past Romanian qualifier Irina Bara 7-6(2), 6-2 in their opening-round match.

Barbora Krejcikova came from a set down to oust compatriot Kristyna Pliskova in their opening-round match-up at the French Open. Krejcikova, who won Strasbourg last week, dropped the opening set 5-7 and trailed by a break in the second before regrouping herself and winning the latter two sets 6-4 and 6-2 to advance to the second round. There, she awaits the winner between 32nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova and Venus Williams.