May 29, 2017 / 2:18 AM / 2 months ago

Muguruza hoping to avoid embarrassing exit in Paris

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Tennis - ATP - Rome Open - Garbine Muguruza of Spain v Venus Williams of the United States - Rome, Italy - 19/5/17 - Muguruza of Spain returns the ball.Stefano Rellandini

PARIS (Reuters) - After world number one Angelique Kerber succumbed in the first round of the French Open, another upset could be on the cards on day two of the claycourt major when Garbine Muguruza takes on Francesca Schiavone on Monday.

Spain's Muguruza, who has been in mediocre form on clay this season, could face the embarrassment of becoming only the second defending champion since Anastasia Myskina in 2005 to lose in the women's first round.

The 36-year-old Schiavone, champion at Roland Garros in 2010, won the Bogota tournament and reached the final in Rabat, both on clay, this season. Muguruza in contrast has won only three matches on red dirt in 2017.

"It's very strange to find a first round with two past champions,” said fourth seed Muguruza. “I think she’s playing good on clay. It’s a good match to start.”

The match, however, is unlikely to draw thousands onto Court Philippe Chatrier, where proceedings usually open in front of a sparse crowd.

The two players have met twice on clay, taking one victory each.

Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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