French Open: Carla Suarez’s Navarro’s emotional return ends in 1st round defeat

Carla Suarez Navarro who made her return to the French Open for one last time exited in the opening round on Tuesday. Sloane Stephens defeated the Spaniard, who returned to Paris following her successful battle against cancer, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes in the last match of the day on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

Suarez Navarro was set to retire last year but her cancer diagnosis and the disarray of the tour on account of the Covid-19 pandemic changed her plans. The Spaniard will now be retiring at the end of the 2021 season.

Stephens, meanwhile, will play ninth seed Karolina Pliskova in the second round. The Czech defeated Donna Vekic 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 36 minutes in their first-round clash. Pliskova hit 26 winners and had 27 unforced errors to Vekic’s 21 winners and 33 unforced errors.

French Open: Karolina Muchova, Coco Gauff win 1R

Pliskova’s compatriot, 18th seed Karolina Muchova also needed three sets to get past Andrea Petkovic in their first round. The German raced away to a 6-1 lead in the opener but Muchova pegged her back in the second set with an early break. However, while Petkovic was able to break back, she was unable to consolidate and was broken for the second time. On her part, Muchova consolidated the break by serving out the second set. Muchova broke Petkovic in the decider and held long enough to serve the match out in the 10th game.

Muchova hit 41 winners to Petkovic’s 21 and had 44 unforced errors to the German’s 32. In the second round, the Czech will play American qualifier Varvara Lepchenko. Lepchenko ousted Shuai Zhang 6-3, 6-3 in their opener.

Coco Gauff, the 24th seed, also moved into the second round at the French Open on Tuesday with a win over qualifier Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia. The two were locked in a stiff battle in the opening set which Gauff won in the tie-break 13-11. The second set was relatively easier as Gauff won it 6-4 to claim the win.