PARIS, May 25 (Reuters) - Milos Raonic and Agnieszka Radwanska shook off the morning chill to ease into the second round of the French Open on the opening day of the second grand slam of the year on Sunday.
Poland’s Radwanska, the third seed, won 6-3 6-0 after the first seven games against Zhang Shuai went against serve. Canadian Raonic, seeded eighth, beat the feisty Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-3 7-6(1) 6-3 and then charmed the Roland Garros crowd by conducting his on-court interview in French.
Radwanska set the ball rolling on the main Philippe Chatrier show court under overcast skies. Forecasters warn intermittent rain is expected over the early days of the tournament.
Wearing a floral print dress perhaps in anticipation of more springlike temperatures, Radwanska took a while to get into her rhythm against Zhang and both women struggled badly with their service.
But the Pole eventually held for 5-3, after saving three break points, and then broke the Chinese to take the set. The second set was a rout, however.
“I think it was a very wet court. I think the courts are not always dry, it’s raining every day, so it makes the courts much slower,” Radwanska said.
“Every two-set match is great in a two-week tournament. It’s important that I spent only one hour on court,” added Radwanska, who played with a heavily strapped thigh.
She was badly hobbled by a knee injury when losing the Indian Wells final to Flavia Pennetta in March.
Serena Williams, the No. 1 seed and strong favourite to retain her title here, is third on Philippe Chatrier against France’s Alize Lim. That match follows Roger Federer’s opening match against Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.
Raonic pushed Novak Djokovic in the Rome semi-finals before losing in three sets to the eventual champion and he eased through the first set against Kyrgios.
The eighth seed was broken midway through the second but recovered immediately, leaving his 19-year-old opponent to hurl his racket to the court, shaking his head.
The Australian got increasingly frustrated through the second-set tiebreak, berating himself repeatedly, before Raonic took it 7-1.
A finely executed forehand slice from the back of the court forced Kyrgios to hit long, giving Raonic a 2-0 lead in the third set. But it was soon Raonic’s turn to berate himself as a double fault gifted back the break of serve.
Another break in the sixth game put Raonic on course for a three-set victory and he served out to win on his third match point. (Reporting By Robert Woodward, editing by Pritha Sarkar)