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French Open PIX: Zheng ousts Cornet; Rybakina advances

Last updated on: May 28, 2024 21:45 IST
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Images from Day 3 of the 2024 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Tuesday.

Zheng sends Cornet into retirement with French Open thumping

Zheng Qinwen

IMAGE: China's Qinwen Zheng celebrates after winning her first round match against France's Alize Cornet. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Seventh seed Zheng Qinwen powered past Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-1 and into the second round of the French Open on Tuesday, sending the Frenchwoman into retirement with a heavy defeat at her home Grand Slam, where she has featured for 20 straight years.

The 34-year-old Cornet, holder of the Open era women's record for consecutive major main draw appearances, had previously announced that she would bring the curtain down on her career after the tournament.

Cornet will still compete in the women's doubles and mixed doubles events before she walks away from the sport after almost 20 years as a professional.

She gave it her all under the Court Philippe Chatrier roof on a rainy day in Paris but was no match for the Australian Open runner-up as she surrendered the opening set tamely and found herself a break down early in the next.

Alize Cornet

IMAGE: Alize Cornet holder of the Open era women's record for consecutive major main draw appearances, had previously announced that she would bring the curtain down on her career after the tournament. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Zheng, who arrived at Roland Garros on the back of a run to the Rome quarter-finals and is bidding to claim her maiden major title, stepped up her game further to build a 5-1 lead before finishing the match off in style.

She hugged Cornet at the net as a small crowd at the main stadium rose to its feet and cheered for the local player.

Zheng will next face either American Ashlyn Krueger or Germany's Tamara Korpatsch.

Sabalenka mows down teenager Andreeva

Aryna Sabalenka

IMAGE: Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka in action during the first round match against Russia's Erika Andreeva. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka launched her bid for a maiden French Open title and second Grand Slam crown of the year with a breezy 6-1, 6-2 first-round win over Russian teenager Erika Andreeva on Tuesday that will serve as a warning to her main rivals.

The 26-year-old, who successfully defended her Australian Open title earlier this year, arrived at Roland Garros as a top contender after strong results in the European clay swing and wasted little time to get going on Court Philippe Chatrier.

After breaking in the fourth game when 19-year-old Andreeva hit a double fault, Sabalenka fired up her forehand to quickly build up a 5-1 lead and closed out the opening set when her opponent sent a shot wide.

Sabalenka pounced on world number 100 Andreeva's serve again to grab the lead in the second set before handing the break back while attempting a chip from deep, but last year's semi-finalist promptly surged ahead 4-2 after saving more breakpoints.

Having neutralised the increased threat from Andreeva, she wrapped up the contest on serve in 68 minutes, finishing it off on her third matchpoint with a sublime drop shot at the net to huge cheers from the crowd.

Rybakina eases past Minnen into second round

French Open

IMAGE: Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina celebrates after winning her first round match against Belgium's Greet Minnen. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

World number four Elena Rybakina recovered from a rocky start to comfortably beat Belgian Greet Minnen 6-2, 6-3 in the first round, showing a full recovery from her recent illness.

Rybakina was unable to defend her Italian Open title and after losing serve in the opening game at Roland Garros and going 2-0 down, it looked like the Kazakh could be in trouble.

Rybakina withdrew from the French Open last year before her third-round match.

"Last year I missed this tournament and it was really hard but really happy to be back and compete here," Rybakina said.

"I'm really happy, thank you so much for coming guys, it's been an amazing atmosphere."

After Minnen's fast start, fourth seed Rybakina settled down to take the next six games and win the first set and the Kazakh began the second in the same fashion as she cruised into a 4-0 lead.


Minnen rallied and broke serve, and when Rybakina broke for a third time in the second set and served for the match, the Belgian broke again. But it only delayed the inevitable as the Kazakh held her next service game to win the match.

The roof was in use again on Court Suzanne Lenglen, as the rain fell on Roland Garros, but Rybakina was untroubled by the conditions.

"Of course, the ball is a little bit heavier and you need to move better and it's different, but that's tennis and you need to adjust with this rainy weather," she said.

Rybakina is the only player to beat Iga Swiatek on clay this year, defeating the world number one and three-times French Open winner on her way to the Stuttgart title in April.

The 24-year-old will now have a couple of days rest before facing either Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands or Germany's Angelique Kerber.

Two-time finalist Ruud makes winning start

Casper Ruud

IMAGE: Norway's Casper Ruud in action during his first round match against Brazil's Felipe Meligeni Alves. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Two-time French Open finalist Casper Ruud eased past Brazilian qualifier Felipe Alves in straight sets as he launched a renewed bid for a maiden title in Paris.

Fresh from his win in Geneva last week the world number seven and three-time Grand Slam finalist looked confident on the Paris clay, serving close to 90% first serves as he sped past the Brazilian in under two hours.

He will face either Monaco's Valentin Vacherot or Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round

"This is one of the biggest tournaments for me and for everyone every year. One of my highlights," Ruud said.

"I’m always looking forward to it. The last two years have given me so much here in Paris. I hope I can make it another good year."

"I think it's been a good clay season for me. Madrid and Rome could’ve gone a bit better. It wasn’t what I hoped for. But other results went well. All in all I’m happy."

Ruud, a losing finalist in the previous two editions of the French Open, earned three break points at 3-2 and more on the Brazilian's next service game before snatching a break on his seventh opportunity to go 5-3 up and bag the first set.

Alves had matched Ruud's power game for about an hour but gradually the mistakes piled up as Ruud did not give a single break point away in the entire second set.

Another early break in the third saw Ruud firmly in the driving seat and the 25-year-old sealed his 6-3 6-4 6-3 win in just under two hours.

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