Caroline Wozniacki vowed to fight back and stay positive after her latest setback at the French Open.

Former world number one Wozniacki, a major champion in Melbourne just last year, was the 13th seed at Roland Garros amid a difficult season so far, having retired in the first round at both the Madrid Open and the Internazionali d'Italia.

The Dane was able to complete her opener on Court Philippe Chatrier on Monday, but the outcome was no more positive against Veronika Kudermetova.

Wozniacki looked to be on course to a comfortable win early on but collapsed to a 0-6 6-3 6-3 upset, later explaining to the media that a calf injury had disrupted her preparation on clay.

However, the 28-year-old was optimistic that she would now be able to build towards the grass season and Wimbledon.

"My calf now feels good, so that's a positive," she said. "And I'm definitely going to go back and just practice and work hard and get ready for the grass season.

"It's definitely frustrating. You want to win, you're competitive, you work hard, and you want to see results.

"It hasn't been a great year for me so far and I'm just going to try to work hard and try to turn that around. Right now, there's not much I can do about the first six months of the season.

"I had some good weeks where I felt great, and then I've had some weeks where I've been sick and some weeks where I've been injured.

"I just have to try to stay positive. Obviously it's not as easy to stay positive when things aren't going your way, but I think that's when you really need to just keep grinding."

Petra Kvitova has withdrawn from the French Open ahead of her opening match on Monday due to an arm injury.

Two-time grand slam champion Kvitova had been due to face Sorana Cirstea in the first round, but she announced her "really tough decision" just hours before she was due on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

The world number six retired from her last-16 match at the Internazionali d'Italia earlier this month and revealed on Monday she had been playing through pain in recent weeks.

A scan on Sunday confirmed the Czech star would need to skip Roland Garros.

Kvitova post on Twitter: "I'm so disappointed to have to announce my withdrawal from Roland Garros.

"I've had pain in my left forearm for a few weeks and, last night, an MRI confirmed a grade two tear, which unfortunately could get a lot worse if I play today.

"Two years ago, I made my comeback here at Roland Garros, so I'm truly sad not to be able to play here this year.

"It is a really tough decision to make, but I wish the tournament all the best for a successful event and can't wait to be back in 2020."

Kvitova's best performance at the French Open saw her reach the semi-finals in 2012, where she lost to eventual champion Maria Sharapova.

The 29-year-old was the victim of a career-threatening knife attack in late 2016 but returned to the court and reached the Australian Open final - her first in a major since the incident - earlier this year.

Anastasia Potapova pulled off the biggest shock on day one of the French Open by dispatching Angelique Kerber and Elina Svitolina sent Venus Williams packing in Paris.

Kerber had been out of action since suffering an ankle injury at the Madrid Open and the fifth seed's hopes of completing a career Grand Slam were ended when world number 81 Potapova consigned her to a 6-4 6-2 defeat.

Svitolina has been hampered by a knee problem, but the WTA Finals champion claimed her first clay-court victory of the season when it really mattered - seeing off veteran Williams 6-3 6-3.

Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 champion at Roland Garros, fought back to beat Taylor Townsend 5-7 6-2 6-2 on Sunday.

Karolina Pliskova and last year's runner-up Sloane Stephens were among the other winners on the opening day, while Svetlana Kuznetsova was knocked out by the 203-ranked Kristina Kucova a decade after winning the title.

 

NO EXCUSES FROM KERBER 

Kerber had only played three matches on clay this season prior to Roland Garros due to her ankle injury.

"This is not my excuse. I tried my best," said Kerber following her surprise defeat to 18-year-old Russian Potapova. "I know there is still a little bit of work to do to really play matches at 100 per cent, to slide, to jump on the foot, and on the leg."

Potapova was elated to pull off a first victory over a top-10 opponent on her French Open debut against a player she looks up to.

"I was really looking forward for this match because I like [Kerber] very much. She's actually one of my idols, and when I was young I was looking for her game, how she's playing," she said. "When you step on the court and you play your idol, you've just got to show your best. That helped me."

 

SVITOLINA BACK FROM BEING 'AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES'

Svitolina has not had the season she had would have wanted after winning the WTA Finals, but hopes a win against Williams will be the start of a resurgence.

"Sometimes in a few matches in the past two months, I had a situation where I was not thinking about what I had to do on court. I was more away with the fairies, I would say," said the ninth seed.

"So, it's not easy, but I learned a lot during these two months, and I tried to have a right mindset, which is going to help me to handle this.

"Today it was a good example that I can do it and I took my chances."

 

MUGURUZA TOWN BUT NOT OUT, STEPHENS AND PLISKOVA THROUGH IN TWO

Muguruza was a semi-finalist last year after winning her maiden major at this tournament three years ago, but she was in danger of making an early exit at the hands of Townsend.

The 19th seed raised her game to topple the American, hitting 37 winners to seal her spot in round two.

Second seed Pliskova defeated Madison Brengle 6-2 6-3, while Stephens was a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) winner in her encounter with Misaki Doi.

Roger Federer says he is enjoying the novelty of being an "outsider" after making a winning French Open return against Lorenzo Sonego, while last year's semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato was beaten on day one.

Federer breezed into the second round in his first appearance at Roland Garros for four years, defeating Italian Sonego 6-2 6-4 6-4 on the renovated Court Philippe-Chatrier on Sunday.

The 20-time grand slam champion hit 36 winners and won 85 per cent of points on his first serve in a commanding comeback at the Paris major.

Cecchinato pulled off a huge upset by beating Novak Djokovic to reach the last four in 2018, but that must have seemed a distance memory when home wildcard Nicolas Mahut stormed back to beat the 16th seed 2-6 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2 6-4.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic were straight-sets winners, but it was anything but plain sailing for Grigor Dimitrov - who squandered a two-set lead before rallying to see off Janko Tipsarevic.

Felix Auger-Aliassime withdrew from the tournament after sustaining a groin injury on his run to the final of the Lyon Open.

 

I'll JUST SEE HOW IT GOES - FEDERER

Federer is accustomed to having the weight of expectation on his shoulders, but the Swiss is feeling no pressure at a tournament where his solitary success came 10 years ago.

The third seed, who will face lucky loser Oscar Otte in round two, said:  "It's nice to be an outsider. That's how I feel, anyhow. I'll just see how it goes. I know when Wimbledon comes around, sure, I'll be probably a higher favourite.

"That's okay, too. I'm happy that I'm there, where I am. I feel like if I lost first round or in the finals or wherever it is, people would be, like, 'Okay, that could have happened.'

"I like that approach for me also once in a while. It relaxes you on the bigger points maybe or it relaxes you subconsciously as you walk through the grounds and go to practice and go to the press room."

 

MAHUT: I FELT LIKE GIVING BACK WILDCARD

Mahut lost the only other main-draw singles match he played on the ATP Tour this year and revealed he was contemplating passing up a wildcard for his home grand slam due to a back injury.

The 37-year-old - a doubles champion at Roland Garros last year - was relieved that he changed his mind after battling his way past Cecchinato on the new Court Simonne-Mathieu.

He said: "I felt like giving back the wildcard and saying, 'I won't be ready'. Then my staff said, Look, you have until Sunday. Take some time, take some rest. I felt better and better. Saturday and Sunday I was feeling better.

I had a week of preparation with coaches. My wife every evening would tell me, 'Relax, don't put any pressure on yourself, things will go well'. I trusted them and this was my payback."

 

TSITSIPAS, NISHIKORI AND CILIC UNTROUBLED, DIMITROV DIGS DEEP

Greek youngster Tsitsipas gave another demonstration of why such big things are expected of him, the sixth seed beating Maximilian Marterer 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-4).

Nishikori was a class apart from wildcard Quentin Halys, winning 6-2 6-3 6-4, and Cilic showed little sign of his struggles this year as he brushed aside Thomas Fabbiano 6-3 7-5 6-1.

Dimitrov has plummeted to 47th in the rankings and arrived in Paris in poor form, but dug deep to oust Tipsarevic 6-3 6-0 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-4. 

Roger Federer enjoyed a winning return to the French Open, brushing aside Lorenzo Sonego 6-2 6-4 6-4 in the first round.

The 20-time grand slam champion is playing at Roland Garros for the first time since his 2015 quarter-final defeat to Stan Wawrinka but had little difficulty outmanoeuvring world number 73 Sonego.

There were no signs of the leg injury that forced Federer out of the Madrid Open earlier this month either, as he set the tone on Sunday with two breaks in the opening set.

Now 10 years on from his only French Open title, the Swiss cruised from there and can look ahead to continuing his latest bid against Oscar Otte, a lucky loser in qualifying who defeated Malek Jaziri in four sets.

Federer was quickly back in the groove on Court Philippe Chatrier and broke in front immediately as Sonego went long, before the third seed forced his opponent awkwardly into the net to double his advantage.

And that was enough to take the opener, with a hold to love clinching the set in just 24 minutes.

A stunning drop shot handed Federer a break at the start of the second and another followed when Sonego again missed the baseline.

There was a response this time, however, as Sonego won three games on the bounce, seizing a fourth break-point opportunity along the way, but it was a minor bump in the road for Federer on an otherwise serene afternoon.

The Italian held his own for much of the third, yet a glorious cross-court passing shot finally forged Federer's breakthrough in the ninth game and set up a hold to seal victory.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Roger Federer [3] bt Lorenzo Sonego 6-2 6-4 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Federer - 36/15
Sonego - 24/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Federer - 5/2
Sonego - 3/0

BREAK POINTS WON

Federer - 5/11
Sonego - 1/4

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Federer - 74
Sonego - 64

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Federer - 84/61
Sonego - 62/42

TOTAL POINTS

Federer - 96
Sonego - 66

Rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime has withdrawn from the French Open due to a groin injury.

The 25th seed from Canada was due to face Jordan Thompson in the first round at Roland Garros but will be replaced by lucky loser Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Auger-Aliassime suffered the injury during a run to the final of the Lyon Open this week.

The 18-year-old said he was "not physically well" after losing 6-4 6-3 to Benoit Paire in the decider on Saturday.

Auger-Aliassime failed to make it through qualifying in Paris last year and will have to wait until 2020 to feature in the main draw for the first time at the clay-court grand slam.

Three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber became the first seed to exit the French Open as she lost to 18-year-old Anastasia Potapova on Sunday.

Kerber needs a victory in Paris to complete a career Grand Slam, having added the 2018 Wimbledon title to 2016 successes at the Australian Open and US Open.

But that long-awaited triumph will not come this year after the German fell at the first hurdle, going down 6-4 6-2 against world number 81 Potapova.

Kerber was well below her brilliant best and Potapova took the first set at the end of a break-heavy opener.

The fifth seed was then broken again in her first service game of the second set and she scarcely looked like recovering as Potapova cruised to a first win over a top-10 player in her Roland Garros debut.

Kerber, who withdrew from the Madrid Open earlier this month with a right ankle injury, is without a WTA Tour title this season and has still not been past the quarter-finals at the French Open.

Meanwhile, Potapova faces Wang Yafan or Marketa Vondrousova in the second round.

Alexander Zverev has no doubt he can mix it with the very best in the world after claiming his first ATP Tour title of 2019 at the Geneva Open.

The 22-year-old German has struggled for his best form since losing to Nick Kyrgios in the final of the Acapulco Open in March and was forced to dig deep to see off Chile's Nicolas Jarry 6-3 3-6 7-6 (10-8).

Zverev saved two match points in a rain-interrupted encounter against Jarry, who beat him in the opening round in Barcelona last month.

It meant an 11th career title overall, but Zverev insists he is more concerned about the bigger picture of hitting top form, especially with the French Open on the horizon next week.

"When I start playing good, I don't worry about titles. I know that I can be one of the best players in the world when I find my rhythm," he told the ATP Tour's official website. "This week definitely helped with that.

"It was a very tough match. He was playing aggressively, serving big and hitting everything he can.

"I thought I was in control until the rain came, but I'm happy to find a way. I felt it could have gone either way."

Zverev is seeded fifth at Roland Garros and begins his campaign against Australia's John Millman.

Jarry will take his impressive form into a mouth-watering encounter against fellow South American and eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro.

Dayana Yastremska came out on top in an almighty battle with Caroline Garcia to win the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Saturday.

The teenager saved a match point before going on to win her third title in eight months, beating Garcia 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7-3) in the longest WTA final of the season.

Sixth seed Yastremska's triumph was her first on clay, providing a huge tonic ahead of her first-round clash with Carla Suarez Navarro at the French Open next week.

Garcia saved two match points in the second set to ensure a tense showdown went the distance in her homeland, and the 2016 Strasbourg champion had a point to regain the title in the decider after rallying from a break down.

Yastremska stood firm to force a tie-break, though, and the 19-year-old from Ukraine finished strongly to ensure she will head to Roland Garros on a high.

It took just two minutes shy of three hours to settle what was a gripping final.

Benoit Paire claimed his second title in 2019 with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Felix Auger Aliassime in the Lyon Open final on Saturday.

The Frenchman followed up his success in Marrakech last month by triumphing on home soil, in the process denying his teenage opponent a maiden tournament win.

Auger Aliassime, 18, had the opportunity to become the youngest champion on the ATP Tour since Kei Nishikori at Delray Beach in 2008.

However, the fourth-seeded Canadian struggled to impose himself from the outset in a match that lasted one hour and 20 minutes.

"I had a good week even though it didn’t end the way I wanted, not playing the way I wanted or being physically well," Auger-Aliassime said in quotes on the ATP's official website.

"There's disappointment because these finals don't come around often but there's a lot of positives to take from that week. Hopefully I give myself other chances for titles."

As for Paire, he is likely to be nestled inside the world's top 40 of the updated rankings by the time he takes to the court for his first-round clash against Marius Copil at the French Open next week.

Yulia Putintseva came from behind to beat Tamara Zidansek and claim her first WTA Tour title at the Nuremberg Cup.

The Kazakh, who was top seed at the tournament, won 4-6 6-4 6-2 in two hours and 18 minutes to finally claim her first crown, having lost her previous two appearances in finals.

Unseeded Zidansek was also seeking a first full title – her only previous win having come at 125k level – but the wait will continue after she failed to build on her lead, paying the price for being broken six times.

Zidansek had won the only previous meeting between the pair in Rabat three weeks ago, but while this contest also took three sets to settle, it was Putintseva who held her nerve.

The Slovenian made a rapid start but missed a chance to go 4-0 up and a first set that contained five breaks was soon sitting at 4-4. But Zidansek gathered herself to hold serve in a close ninth game before converting her second set point in the next to move ahead.

Putintseva, ranked 39th in the world, saved a key break point early in the second and broke Zidansek in the next game to reverse the momentum and eventually claimed the set to force a decider.

There had been eight breaks in the opening two sets, but Putintseva produced when it mattered most, not allowing Zidansek a single opportunity in the third and breaking twice herself, claiming victory with her second match point.

"It's unbelievable, honestly," said Putintseva. "It was a great fight, a great game for the final. My character is to keep fighting."

Three semi-final defeats and an ATP Masters 1000 title would represent a handsome return from the clay courts for most players heading into the French Open.

But Rafael Nadal is the 'King of Clay', an 11-time Roland Garros champion, and might understandably hold himself to a higher standard.

The Spaniard has lost just twice at the second major of the year in his entire career. He is used to dominating at this time of the season.

Putting Nadal's achievements on the red dirt into context, Simona Halep, the women's defending champion, this week dismissed the idea they could ever be replicated on the WTA Tour.

"I don't see that. Never, ever," she told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of Hublot. "That is unique."

Consequently, failure to collect the Internazionali d'Italia title last week would have represented a crisis of sorts for the world number two.

Nadal had never previously headed to the French Open without a title on clay in the months prior, meaning a trio of last-four losses this year suddenly left him looking vulnerable.

Novak Djokovic was cast aside in Rome, but questions over whether this remains the same supreme Nadal of years gone may linger for some.

But what factors could see Roland Garros' greatest ever champion dethroned?

 

NADAL'S FORM

Nadal's first three clay-court tournaments of 2019 went the same way, starting with what he branded "one of the worst matches" he had ever played on the surface as he lost to Fabio Fognini in straight sets at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The Spaniard was then stunned by the sensational Dominic Thiem at the Barcelona Open, while Stefanos Tsitsipas came up with a huge performance at the Madrid Open.

Nadal belatedly beat a top-20 player on the red dirt for the first time this season in Rome, overcoming Nikoloz Basilashvili and Tsitsipas before downing Djokovic for his first ATP Tour title of the year.

NADAL'S FITNESS

Besides the return to form in Italy, the good news for Nadal in recent months has been the absence of injuries.

The 32-year-old withdrew from the Indian Wells Masters in March due to a knee complaint, continuing a concerning trend of pulling out of high-profile hard-court tournaments in 2018.

Nadal has since completed four consecutive events and has perhaps simply been building his fitness.

 

THE CHALLENGERS

If Nadal is on the wane, there are no shortage of up-and-comers ready to take his place. None of his defeats this year have been flukes, although Fognini remains hugely unpredictable.

Thiem has now beaten Nadal on clay in four consecutive seasons, while Tsitsipas, still just 20, looks to be at the beginning of a career at the very top of the sport.

Elsewhere, Alexander Zverev has not faced Nadal this year but has two clay Masters titles to his name. There are now threats beyond Djokovic and Roger Federer, or the absent Andy Murray.

Being one of the greatest players in the history of tennis brings with it consistently high expectations.

Roger Federer's 20 major titles are unparalleled in the men's game, as are his cumulative 310 weeks spent at the top of the rankings – 237 of which came in succession from February 2, 2004 until August 17, 2008.

The Swiss, now 37 and wise to the impact the rigours of the Tour has on his ageing body, has managed his schedule in recent seasons to enable him to continue competing at the extraordinary levels he set after winning his first grand slam 16 years ago.

He branded taking part at Roland Garros in 2016 an "unnecessary fitness risk" as he struggled with knee and back problems and, never hiding his preference for grass and hard courts, he has not returned until now.

His decision to skip the clay-court swing in 2017 paid dividends in the form of a record eighth Wimbledon title, but after a surprise fourth-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at this year's Australian Open Federer confirmed he would finally be back playing on clay.

"I'm in a phase where I want to have fun. It's a bit of desire. I don't feel it is necessary to have a big break again," said Federer at Melbourne Park.

Fun is exactly what Federer can have at the French Open this year.

Rafael Nadal's dominance of the tournament – the 'King of Clay' is gunning for his 12th title at Roland Garros this year – and Novak Djokovic's incredible resurgence, which could see him hold all four grand slams at the same time for the second time in his career, means they are the overwhelming favourites for success.

For once, Federer, who returns on the 10-year anniversary of the first and only time he got his hands on La Coupe des Mousquetaires, goes into a major without the pressure to succeed that typically accompanies an all-time great.

Clay-court specialist Dominic Thiem and Tsitsipas are favoured more than Federer - who is in the same side of the draw as Nadal - by many bookmakers, while Alexander Zverev is considered to have a similar chance of success as the Swiss.

His odds were unlikely to be helped by a right leg injury that forced him to withdraw from an Internazionali d'Italia quarter-final against Tsitsipas, but Federer had to play two matches in a day 24 hours prior, the second of which went to a third-set tie-break against Borna Coric.

Asked if he can win the French Open, Federer replied: "I don't know. [It's] a bit of a question mark for me. In some ways I feel similar to the Australian Open in 2017 - a bit of the unknown.

"I feel like I'm playing good tennis, but is it enough or is it enough against the absolute top guys when it really comes to the crunch? I'm not sure if it's in my racket.

"But I hope I can get myself in that position deep down in the tournament against the top guys."

On his condition, he added: "Being healthy is really key at this stage of my career, and the last time I have been really badly injured has been basically Montreal two years ago almost.

"I'm very happy [with] how my body has been. There has always been little things going on, like in Rome, but that was also precautionary. I wanted to make sure I was 100 per cent going to be able to play the French Open."

While another icon of the sport Serena Williams continues to struggle with the stresses of matching Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 grand slam titles, Federer arrives at Roland Garros in an environment where he has no such burdens to contend with.

The stage is set for Federer to play with freedom and in an impressive physical state. Regardless of the outcome, his desire for fun will no doubt be satisfied in Paris.

Teenager Dayana Yastremska surprised herself by beating Aryna Sabalenka to ensure she will face Caroline Garcia in the Internationaux de Strasbourg final.

Yastremska claimed a first title of the year in Hua Hin three months ago and could head into the French Open on the back of another after a 6-4 6-4 defeat of second seed Sabalenka.

The 19-year-old from Ukraine struck 36 winners and did not face a break point in the second set as she claimed the scalp of the heavy-hitting world number 11 on Friday.

"I didn't really expect to be in the final, because I had a tough period before. I was doing the work, I was trusting in myself, took a little bit of confidence, and I'm ready to compete," said the 42-ranked Yastremska. 

Garcia also advanced in straight sets, winning an all-French semi-final against Chloe Paquet 6-3 6-4.

Fourth seed Garcia, the champion in Strasbourg three years ago, claimed a break in each set to stay in the hunt to regain the title. 

There will be a first-time WTA singles champion at the Nuremberg Cup after Tamara Zidansek and Yulia Putintseva came through their semi-finals.

The unseeded Zidansek overcame Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (7-4) 6-2, while top seed Putintseva saw off Sorana Cirstea 6-4 7-5.

Alexander Zverev will face Nicolas Jarry in his second final of the season after seeing off Federico Delbonis in the Geneva Open.

Zverev has endured a disappointing year, but the world number five could start the French Open next week on the back of his first title in 2019.

The top seed rolled up his sleeves to beat Delbonis 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 on Friday, blasting down 15 aces and winning 81 per cent of points on his first serve.

Zverev said: "I am very happy with the win. I am very happy to be in the final and [to] give myself an opportunity to win a tournament here.

"I made 15 aces so my serve was doing alright ... [Delbonis] beat great players on this surface already, he has done well on this surface and I think winning against him is a good win."

The unseeded Jarry reached only his second ATP Tour final with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Radu Albot. 

Jarry has not dropped a set this week and the world number 75 stands on the brink of a maiden ATP Tour title.

Felix Auger-Aliassime will also contest his second ATP Tour championship match following a 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 success against top seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Lyon Open.

The 18-year-old Canadian rising star will come up against Benoit Paire, who was a 6-4 6-2 winner in his semi-final with Taylor Fritz on home soil.

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