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Sport

Highlights: French Open day one

PARIS (Reuters) - Top seed Simona Halep celebrated her 29th birthday in style with a 6-4 6-0 victory over Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo on the opening day of the French Open on Sunday, while other players were left frustrated by the wet, windy and cold conditions.

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - September 27, 2020 General view of Court Suzanne Lenglen during a rain delay. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Former champion Halep, who skipped last month’s U.S. Open due to COVID-19 concerns, became the first women’s winner under Court Philippe Chatrier’s new retractable roof as she escaped the worst of the weather.

Making her Roland Garros main draw debut, 16-year-old U.S. sensation Coco Gauff continued to impress by claiming the fourth win of her career over a top-20 player as she eased past the ninth seed Johanna Konta 6-3 6-3.

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka complained on court about the “ridiculous” playing conditions but did enough to beat Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic 6-1 6-2.

“I’m glad that I’m able to finish and now I can watch everybody struggle with this weather,” Azarenka noted.

Big-serving American John Isner does not usually play on a damp claycourt and reckoned it was “a bit nasty out there” but he looked right at home in a 6-4 6-1 6-3 win over French wildcard Elliot Benchetrit.

Italian teenager Jannik Sinner pulled off the biggest upset at the start of the men’s tournament as he knocked out 11th seeded Belgian David Goffin 7-5 6-0 6-3.

Britain’s Andy Murray, who needed a wildcard to make his first Roland Garros appearance in three years, was well below par as he suffered a 6-1 6-3 6-2 defeat by Stan Wawrinka in a battle of three-time Grand Slam champions.

Highlights of the first day at the French Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Sunday (all times GMT):

1950 ZVEREV CRUISES PAST DENNIS NOVAK

Sixth seed Alexander Zverev, who finished runner-up at the U.S. Open earlier this month, began his Roland Garros campaign with a commanding 7-5 6-2 6-4 victory over Austrian Dennis Novak.

1920 SCHWARTZMAN ROLLS INTO ROUND TWO

Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman struck 32 winners as he raced past Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0 6-1 6-3 to book a place in the second round.

1810 GAUFF UPSETS KONTA

American teenage sensation Coco Gauff made her Roland Garros main draw debut with a stunning 6-3 6-3 win over ninth seeded Briton Johanna Konta.

The 16-year-old, playing in the main draw of a claycourt tournament for only the second time in her career, will next face Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan.

1725 WAWRINKA DUMPS OUT MURRAY IN STRAIGHT SETS

Swiss Stan Wawrkina advanced to the second round with a 6-1 6-3 6-2 victory over Britain’s Andy Murray, his first Tour-level win since the season’s restart.

The last time the pair met at Roland Garros, they battled for 4-1/2 hours in an epic semi-final but this time Wawrinka did not drop serve and converted six break points, firing 42 winners while Murray made 26 unforced errors.

1655 PAIRE CRUISES INTO ROUND TWO

Benoit Paire, who was forced to pull out of the U.S. Open last month after testing positive for COVID-19, eased into the second round on home soil with a 7-5 6-4 6-4 win over Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea.

1650 CORIC FALLS AT FIRST HURDLE

U.S. Open quarter-finalist Borna Coric struggled for rhythm on the Parisian clay as he committed 46 unforced errors in a 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 defeat by Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos.

1525 GARCIA SENDS KONTAVEIT PACKING

Home favourite Caroline Garcia, who reached her only Grand Slam quarter-final in Paris three years ago, struck 41 winners to beat 17th-seeded Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-4 3-6 6-4.

1445 NISHIKORI BATTLES PAST EVANS

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who missed the American hardcourt swing after contracting COVID-19 last month, edged past Britain’s 32nd seed Dan Evans 1-6 6-1 7-6(3) 1-6 6-4 in a gruelling battle lasting almost four hours.

Nishikori has now won his past nine five-set matches in Grand Slams.

1435 VENUS SUFFERS ANOTHER EARLY EXIT

Former world number one Venus Williams suffered a 6-4 6-4 defeat by Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the opening round.

The 40-year-old American has now lost in the first round at all her four tournament appearances since the season resumed following the COVID-19 shutdown, including this month’s U.S. Open.

1250 HALEP OVERCOMES SLUGGISH START TO ADVANCE

Top seed Simona Halep was 4-2 down to Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo before switching gears to win 10 consecutive games and move into the second round with a 6-4 6-0 victory under the roof on court Philippe Chatrier.

Elise Mertens also came through her rain-interrupted first-round clash against Margarita Gasparyan, hitting 22 winners in a 6-2 6-3 victory.

1118 SINNER UPSETS GOFFIN

Italian teenager Jannik Sinner stunned Belgian 11th David Goffin 7-5 6-0 6-3 in his first match at Roland Garros, firing 23 winners while Goffin made 43 unforced errors.

Sinner, 19, has reached the second round of a Grand Slam only once before -- at this year’s Australian Open.

1100 AZARENKA, SAKKARI THROUGH TO SECOND ROUND

Tenth seed Victoria Azarenka, wearing a jacket in cold conditions at Roland Garros, beat Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic 6-1 6-2 in a first-round match interrupted by rain and suspended for 50 minutes.

Greek 20th seed Maria Sakkari also braved incessant drizzle to complete a 6-0 7-5 win over Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.

1000 RAIN HALTS PLAY ON OUTER SHOWCOURTS

Victoria Azarenka’s match against Danka Kovinic on court Suzanne Lenglen and Elise Mertens’ first-round clash with Margarita Gasparyan on court Simonne Mathieu were suspended due to rain.

Belarusian Azarenka refused to stay on court after the supervisor asked her to wait until a decision was made on whether the match should continue.

Matches on the outer courts continued despite the drizzle while David Goffin against Jannik Sinner on court Philippe Chatrier carried on with the roof closed.

0908 PLAY UNDERWAY AT ROLAND GARROS

Belgian David Goffin, seeded 11th, began his first-round match against Italian Jannik Sinner under the retractable roof at Court Philippe Chatrier following a spell of rain.

The temperature was hovering around 16 degrees Celsius with more rain predicted.

Top seed and birthday girl Simona Halep meets Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo later and Swiss Stan Wawrinka faces 2016 runner-up Andy Murray.

The event will welcome 1,000 fans daily amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar, Rohith Nair and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis

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