Hindustan Times (Lucknow)


- Agencies sportsdesk@hindustant­imes.com

PARIS: At the mercy of Bernarda Pera’s deep groundstro­kes and struggling with her moves, topranked Ashleigh Barty gave the impression that her return to Roland Garros would be shortlived. In ideal playing conditions on the sun-kissed Court Philippe Chatrier, Barty was often left stranded by the big shots of her American rival. But two years after claiming the French Open title, the top-ranked Australian fought hard enough to overcome the challenge and eventually prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 on Tuesday. “I just keep fighting, I just keep trying,” Barty said after improving her three-set match record to 12-2 this year. Barty decided not to defend her title last year due to the pandemic.

The seeded players in the women’s draw scheduled early in the day got off solid starts. Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina trailed 5-2 in the second set but beat wild card Oceane Babel 6-2, 7-5. Australian Open runner-up Jennifer Brady breezed past Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-3 to reach the second round. Twotime Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova pulled out of the tournament because of an ankle injury. The 11th-seeded Kvitova saved a match point before coming back to beat Greet Minnen 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-1.

In the men’s draw, up-andcoming Aslan Karatsev beat American Jenson Brooksby 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and was joined in the second round by 14th-seeded Gael Monfils. In the evening, 13-time champion Rafael Nadal beat Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (3).

Bopanna-Skugor through

Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Franko Skugor advanced to the men’s doubles second round after beating Germany’s Andre Begemann and Nikoloz Basilashvi­li of Georgia 6-4, 6-2 in their French Open first round that lasted just over an hour on Tuesday. This was the pair’s first win since teaming up for ATP events in Geneva and Belgrade in the lead-up to Paris.

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