Novak Djokovic needed just an hour and 23 minutes to swat aside the challenge of Ricardas Berankis at the French Open and reach a new career milestone.

A 6-1 6-2 6-2 victory was as ruthless and rapid as the scoreline suggests, with Djokovic racing through to the third round.

They had played twice before, and Berankis tested Djokovic before losing in two tight sets at August's Masters 1000 tournament in New York.

But Thursday's match produced exactly the same scoreline as in their first clash, seven years ago in the first round of the US Open, and showed the gulf between the world number one and the player ranked 66th on the men's tour.

Victory means Djokovic racked up a 70th win in singles action at Roland Garros, having already reached that mark at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

His French Open wins tally has now equalled that of Roger Federer, who is absent this year as he recovers from knee surgery. Djokovic and Federer sit joint second on the all-time list for the most wins in the men's singles at Roland Garros, behind clear leader Rafael Nadal, who has chalked up 95 victories in 97 matches.

Court Philippe-Chatrier has seen Djokovic come and go quickly in both his matches so far, with the thrashing of Berankis completed in 15 fewer minutes than it took the Serbian to see off Sweden's Mikael Ymer in round one.

Karolina Pliskova cast doubt on Jelena Ostapenko's prospects for a second French Open title after falling victim to the 2017 champion at Roland Garros.

A 6-4 6-2 defeat for second seed Pliskova in round two was the latest in a long line of grand slam disappointments for the 28-year-old Czech.

Although Pliskova has been a regular presence in the top 10 for the past five years, she has reached just one grand slam final, losing to Angelique Kerber in the 2016 US Open title match.

The career of 23-year-old Ostapenko has fluctuated, with success mingling on her record with major dips in form, and she arrived in Paris this year as the world number 43 and unseeded.

The hard-hitting Latvian's record at the French Open is peculiar, with three first-round exits and one run all the way through the draw to glory her return from four previous trips to Roland Garros.

Pliskova was frustrated to lose their second-round match, and afterwards questioned whether Ostapenko's death-or-glory style could carry her to another final.

"I'm not sure. There is, what, five more matches to go? I'm not sure if she can hold the level," Pliskova said. "For sure if she plays like [she did on Thursday] she has a chance, but there are tough girls in the draw."

Ostapenko knows her own game will come as a surprise to nobody, unlike three years ago when she careered through the fortnight, catching opponents cold.

"It was three years ago, and I was much younger and also I was fearless. Nobody knew me," Ostapenko said. "But now it's a little bit different. I'm just trying to get back and get my consistency. I think that is the key to bring me a good result.

"Of course, it's in my memory because it's the biggest win of my career so far, but I have to move forward. The world doesn't stop with winning only one grand slam. Of course I want to achieve more and I want to be back in top five, top 10. Step by step. That's what I'm working on, my consistency."

Naomi Osaka, the 2020 US Open winner, has championed Ostapenko as an inspiration in the past, and the respect is mutual.

"A young generation is coming," Ostapenko said. "When I saw her winning, of course I also want to get back there on top and win another grand slam. We are inspiring each other, the new generation, which is also I think good."

A furious Sara Errani aimed verbal volleys at Kiki Bertens at the French Open on Wednesday, accusing the fifth seed of exaggerating an injury in their mammoth second-round clash.

A visibly upset Bertens left the court in a wheelchair after suffering with cramps in a three-hour, 11-minute tussle with Errani that the Dutchwoman won 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 9-7.

However, Errani, who failed to serve out the match on three different occasions, claimed her opponent was merely putting on an act.

"I don't like when somebody is joking on you," Errani told reporters.

"She played an amazing match, but I don't like the situation.

"One hour she has an injury, then she runs. I don't like that. She goes out of the court on the chair, and now she's in the locker perfect, in the restaurant. I don't like these things."

World number eight Bertens, who faces Katerina Siniakova next, shrugged off the criticism, though.

"She can say whatever she feels like. Maybe I should take some more acting classes or should pursue a career in that," Bertens said.

"I'm not sure what she's thinking, but, no, I didn't feel really good on court, to be honest."

AZARENKA EXITS

On the same day that Serena Williams pulled out of the tournament due to an Achilles injury, Victoria Azarenka – who beat the American in the US Open semi-finals – also bowed out with a 6-2 6-2 loss to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

None of the four women who made the final four in New York are still in the tournament in France, with champion Naomi Osaka having withdrawn before it started and Jennifer Brady eliminated in the first round.

However, Azarenka did not blame the quick turnaround and change of surface for her loss.

"Today was not the case of a turnaround, was not the case of the court, was not the case of anything else," she said.

"This is a lesson for me to learn. I don't think about what happened in New York."

HALEP OVERCOMES COMPATRIOT

Top seed Simona Halep beat fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-4 to seal her passage to the third round.

"It's never easy to play against a Romanian and against Irina, we played so many times; it's never easy," Halep admitted.

"I managed well in the end and I think I played the right game when I needed to."

GAUFF'S RACE IS RUN

Despite beating ninth seed Johanna Konta in the first round, 16-year-old Coco Gauff fell at the next hurdle.

The American went a set up against Italian Martina Trevisan only to lose 4-6 6-2 7-5.

Meanwhile, seeds Elina Svitolina, Elise Mertens and Amanda Anisimova all progressed.

Rafael Nadal has won a record 12 French Open titles but he declared on Wednesday that Roland Garros perfection will always elude him.

Spanish great Nadal began to move through the gears as he steamed through to the third round in Paris with a 6-1 6-0 6-3 win over American Mackenzie McDonald.

It was the sort of performance that was the ideal response to a similarly clinical first-round win by Novak Djokovic a day earlier, and showed Nadal stepping up after a more challenging workout against Egor Gerasimov in his opener.

Nadal says a tennis player might only experience anything close to perfection fleetingly in a career. It might be that he needs to approach such imperiousness to triumph for a 13th time at the clay-court grand slam.

Dominic Thiem, as well as Djokovic, are on the scent of the title, and Stan Wawrinka is emerging as a dark horse, the Swiss believing he can be a contender.

Thiem, Wawrinka and Alexander Zverev were among the seeds to reach the third round on Wednesday, in three, four and five sets respectively.

NADAL CONCEDES DEFEAT... TO HOPES OF TENNIS PERFECTION

The greatest of all French Open champions knows there will always be room for improvement in his game, even when he is playing with the sort of gusto that swept away McDonald in 100 minutes of wizardry on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Nadal was asked afterwards whether he has ever played a perfect match, and what such a performance would look like.

"Perfection is difficult. I really believe that word in sport, especially in tennis, doesn't exist," Nadal said.

"You're always going to have mistakes. At the end of the day, the perfect match or the closest-to-perfect match is when you win. When you win, you're going to have the chance to play again the next day. That's the goal in this sport.

"It's not a sport where you have to look for perfection. Perfection is not going to happen. But close to be playing very, very well, yeah, it's happening.

"Close to perfection can happen a couple of times in your life. Then when this happens, when the best players are playing at that level, then the normal thing is that these guys wins the tournaments."

'STANIMAL' WAWRINKA IS PROWLING WITH INTENT

After sweeping aside Andy Murray in round one, Wawrinka, who won the first of his three slam titles at the French Open six years ago, is fancying his chances of a long run.

He saw off Germany's Dominik Koepfer 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1 on Wednesday, a decent outcome against a player who took a set off Djokovic in the Rome quarter-finals earlier in September.

"I've been practising right. I'm feeling good. I like the conditions here. I enjoy being back playing grand slams," Wawrinka, who enjoys his 'Stanimal' nickname, explained.

"It's great to be able to have the chance to play this year's French Open. Seeing what's happening in the world, it's something different.

"We are lucky to be able to play here. I'm ready for it. I'm ready for the next round. Let's see what will happen in the next two weeks."

His match against Koepfer was interrupted by what sounded like a huge explosion, which was heard across Paris and was later confirmed as a sonic boom caused by a military aircraft.

"I was shocked like everybody," Wawrinka said. "For sure, we asked the umpire to let me know what it was. Everybody had the answer quite early, so it was all good."

THIEM RIDING A 'HAPPY WAVE'

Despite finishing runner-up to Nadal in the last two Roland Garros finals, Thiem no longer feels like a grand slam nearly man thanks to his recent US Open triumph.

But after beating Jack Sock 6-1 6-3 7-6 (8-6), the Austrian third seed admitted it is the adrenaline that comes with winning which is keeping him from physical collapse.

"Generally I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "I'm still a little bit on the happy wave of New York, I would say.

"Of course, at one point I'm going to get super tired. I guess all the tension and focus on Roland Garros, it's hiding still the tiredness and everything. I hope I can push it as far as I can."

Wawrinka and Thiem are on a fourth-round collision course.

Zverev, beaten by Thiem in the US Open final, was some way short of his best as he scrambled for a 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 win against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

John Isner, Benoit Paire and Kei Nishikori were among the notable casualties on day four of the tournament, but the title favourites remain firmly on course for the second week.

Rafael Nadal feels Serena Williams' withdrawal from the French Open is "very sad news for tennis" and has backed her to make a strong recovery.

Williams, 39, has been struggling with an Achilles injury since reaching the semi-finals at the US Open.

Despite gutting out a first-round win over Kristie Ahn on Monday, the 23-time grand slam champion could not take to the court against Tsvetana Pironkova on Wednesday after acknowledging she was struggling to walk.

Williams told reporters her 2020 season is most likely over and while Nadal knows injury comebacks are harder in the latter stages of a player's career, he is hopeful the American will be back at her best before too long.

"I don't want to speculate how bad is the injury or not when I don't know," he told reporters after thrashing Williams' compatriot Mackenzie McDonald in his second-round match.

"Of course, it is very sad news for tennis, for Roland Garros, and especially for her. Sorry for her. 

"I can just wish her a fast and good recovery. It is true that all the comebacks are tough, especially when you get a little bit older - every time is more difficult.

"She showed amazing passion for this sport. I really believe that she will be good in the next couple of months."

Williams had tried to hide the extent of her injury during her first match in Paris this week and Nadal was asked whether he had ever been in the same situation.

"Well, you don't want to show that [you have an injury] if you really believe that you can keep going," added Nadal. "You don't have to give advantages to the others, no?

"Of course, when you are suffering pain, but you really believe that maybe you win that match, then you can improve little bit for the next couple of matches with the doctor or the staff after that victory, then is normal that you are not showing anything to the world. 

"Then if you can't keep going, that is the moment to go and say, 'You know, guys, I can't any more'. That's it. 

"That is, for example, what happened to me in 2016. I think I had to pull out in the third after the first two rounds.

"I won two matches. I didn't say much to the people, but I was playing with an infiltration. I knew the wrist was in trouble, but I wanted to give myself a chance. 

"Then the wrist goes worse. That's a moment to come to the press and say, 'Guys, you know what, I can't keep going. I have to go back home’. Honestly, these are very tough moments."

Simona Halep took a confident step through to the French Open third round to set up a Roland Garros rematch against Amanda Anisimova.

Top seed Halep beat her fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-4 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, extending a career win-loss record to 8-0 against her countrywoman.

Halep did not have it all her own way, with Begu recovering from an early break in the second set to get back on terms, but there was no real cause for concern for the 2018 Roland Garros champion.

She broke again in the ninth game and served out to set up a clash in the last 32 with American teenager Anisimova, who caused a huge shock by beating Halep, who was defending her title, in the quarter-finals last year.

Two-time slam champion Halep, who came into the tournament fresh from winning the Internazionali d'Italia, and 19-year-old Anisimova have only played each other on that one occasion, so their reunion on the Paris clay promises to be unmissable.

The presence of Serena Williams in Halep's side of the draw had suggested a tantalising semi-final may have been in store, with the veteran American chasing a 24th grand slam title.

But news on Wednesday in Paris of Williams' injury-enforced withdrawal from the tournament means that will no longer be a distraction and she can remain entirely focused on the challenge posed by Anisimova.

Halep has now won a career-high 16 consecutive matches since losing to Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open semi-finals, collecting titles in Dubai, Prague and Rome along the way.

Data slam: Halep rallies behind first-serve factor

The 5ft 6in Halep will never possess the most fearsome serve in the game, given her height, and a fastest delivery of 103 miles per hour in this contest - in the closing game - was hardly one built to intimidate.

But Halep makes the most of her delivery, and she has been landing first serves well so far in Paris, meaning her weaker second delivery has not often been a factor.

She put 80 per cent of first serves into play in this contest, and won the point from 29 of those successful 39 deliveries for a healthy 74 per cent share.

Winning five of seven points at the net also helped Halep make smooth progress.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Halep - 15/14
Begu - 22/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Halep - 2/1
Begu - 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Halep - 4/10
Begu - 2/2

Ruthless Rafael Nadal only dropped four games as he made light work of Mackenzie McDonald to move into the French Open third round.

It took the second seed, who is seeking a record-extending 13th title in Paris, just one hour and 40 minutes to record a 6-1 6-0 6-3 victory on Wednesday.

American McDonald was outclassed in his first career meeting against Nadal and proved unable to force a single break-point opportunity.

Nadal's opponent in the next round will be either Stefano Travaglia or Kei Nishikori.

A brutal backhand winner in the fourth game gave Nadal a first-set advantage and he added a second break before a crisp forehand wrapped up the opener.

McDonald had one winner and 11 unforced errors in a second set that Nadal claimed without any resistance.

He stopped the rot by winning his first game in 12 attempts at the start of the third set, only to lose his next service game when he drifted a backhand off target to put the Spaniard on the brink of victory.

Nadal had to wait to seal victory but the winning moment always looked sure to arrive, ultimately coming in game nine as he dug out a backhand winner to earn a double break and covert his first match point to conclude a comfortable afternoon.

Data slam: Nadal was impressive at the net, winning 13 of 16 points – including all six in an emphatic second set that demoralised McDonald, who won on eight of his 14 trips to the middle of the court.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 31/15
McDonald – 17/28

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 1/4
McDonald – 1/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/8
McDonald – 0/0

Serena Williams conceded she is unlikely to play again in 2020 after withdrawing from the French Open on Wednesday due to injury.

The American pulled out of the final grand slam of the year ahead of her second-round match against Tsvetana Pironkova because of an Achilles problem.

It means her long wait for a record-equalling 24th grand slam will go on as she remains one behind Margaret Court.

Williams, who turned 39 last week, revealed the stages for her injury comeback and admitted that it meant she would likely not be back on court until 2021.

"I think I need four to six weeks of sitting and doing nothing, at least two weeks of just sitting down, and then from after that two weeks I have been told that I need to start doing a little training," she explained to reporters at Roland Garros.

"So, I think I'm going to call it [for the year], more than likely. I don't know, doing the math on that, I don't know if I'll be able to play another tournament this year.

"I'm definitely going to take that first two weeks of just nothing, and then start from the next two weeks, and then from that I will get a little bit better.

"But it will give me a lot of time to fully recover for the future."

Williams has not won a grand slam since the 2017 Australian Open - though she missed the first four majors immediately after that as she gave birth to her daughter.

However, having reached the semi-finals of the US Open earlier this month, Williams still feels she has plenty to give the sport as she continues her quest to equal Court's record.

"I love playing tennis, obviously," she added.

"I love competing. I love being out here. It's my job. It's been my job, and I'm pretty good at it still.

"So, until I feel that I'm not good at it, then I'll be, like, okay... and I'm so close to some things, so I feel like I'm almost there. I think that's what keeps me going."

Injury cruelly robbed Serena Williams of her latest opportunity to match Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slams, with an Achilles problem forcing her withdrawal from the French Open.

The American great first encountered trouble at the US Open, where she was beaten in the semi-finals, and the issue led to her pulling out of a second-round contest against Tsvetana Pironkova at Roland Garros on Wednesday.

Since winning the Australian Open in 2017 to break the record for the most slams won during the Open Era, it has been a frustrating pursuit of Court's all-time tally for superstar Williams, who became a mother for the first time barely seven months after that 23rd major.

There have been several near misses along the way for the 39-year-old and here we chronicle her efforts in tennis' big four tournaments since her last grand slam win.


French Open 2018: Withdraws ahead of R4

Playing her first slam since giving birth to her daughter, Williams had defeated Kristyna Pliskova, Ash Barty and Julia Goerges to book a mouth-watering fourth-round showdown with long-term rival Maria Sharapova. Unfortunately, Williams had to pull out shortly before the match due to a pectoral injury.

Wimbledon 2018: Loses final to Angelique Kerber

Remarkably, a little over a month later Williams returned to court in SW19 and enjoyed a scarcely believable run to the final. However, an inspired Angelique Kerber ran out a 6-3 6-3 winner in the showpiece match.

US Open 2018: Loses final to Naomi Osaka

Later that year, Williams had another chance to level Court's record but was beaten 6-2 6-4 by Naomi Osaka in a match most vividly remembered for Williams receiving a game penalty for a series of ugly rows with umpire Carlos Ramos.

Australian Open 2019: Loses in quarter-finals to Karolina Pliskova

Having ousted Simona Halep in the previous round, Williams wasted a 5-1 third-set lead and four match points against Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Victory would have led to a rematch with Osaka.

French Open 2019: Loses in third round to Sofia Kenin

In a tournament of shocks in the women's draw, Williams was defeated in straight sets by the unseeded Sofia Kenin, who was booed at times by the Parisian crowd, in round three.

Wimbledon 2019: Loses final to Simona Halep

Another Wimbledon, another final for Williams in 2019, who became the oldest women's grand slam singles finalist. But the then 37-year-old could not complete her mission, as Halep earned a dominant 6-2 6-2 triumph in under an hour on Centre Court.

US Open 2019: Loses final to Bianca Andreescu

A fourth final since her last slam win came a year ago at Flushing Meadows but there was disappointment again for Williams. On this occasion a 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu, playing in the main draw at Flushing Meadows for the first time, was in outstanding form to earn a 6-3 7-5 win.

Australian Open 2020: Loses in third round to Wang Qiang

Williams' quest for 24 continued in Melbourne this year but a brilliant Wang Qiang dug deep for a three-set win. It was sweet revenge for Wang, who was defeated in just 44 minutes by Williams at the US Open a few months prior.

US Open 2020: Loses in semi-finals to Victoria Azarenka

With the French Open postponed and Wimbledon cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the next slam took place at Flushing Meadows, New York. Williams was taken the distance in winning the three previous rounds but on this occasion was beaten in three sets by Victoria Azarenka in a match where her Achilles injury was clearly causing discomfort.

French Open 2020: Withdraws ahead of R2

Williams managed to come through her first-round contest with Kristie Ahn but the Achilles problem meant she was forced to withdraw prior to her match with Pironkova.

Novak Djokovic set his sights on French Open glory after thrashing Mikael Ymer in the first round on Tuesday.

The Serbian, seeking to put his US Open disqualification firmly behind him, made an early statement of intent with a 6-0 6-2 6-3 victory on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

It took Djokovic one hour, 38 minutes to get the job done, with Ricardas Berankis awaiting in the second round.

And the world number one is determined to chase down a second crown at Roland Garros, having triumphed in 2016.

"I'm ready physically, mentally, emotionally to go deep in the tournament," said Djokovic.

"Hopefully I can have another successful year here in Paris. 2016 was a dream come true.

"Obviously the only French Open title I have won in my career, and it was a very long anticipated title."

 

TSITSIPAS AND RUBLEV, UNITED AGAIN BY FIVE-SETTERS

Two days after they went head to head in the Hamburg European Open final, Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas were back in action in Paris.

And both at one stage looked in serious danger of first-round exits, with their efforts of the past week in Germany seemingly catching up on the seeded pair.

Rublev, who got the better of Tsitsipas in Hamburg, trailed Sam Querrey by two sets on Tuesday. Tsitsipas also slumped two sets behind in his clash with Spain's Jaume Munar.

But both staged spectacular fightbacks, with Russian 13th seed Rublev edging out American Querrey 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-4 6-3 and Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas prevailing 4-6 2-6 6-1 6-4 6-4.

"Although I started well, I was kind of switched off again later during the first set," Tsitsipas said. "Whatever I was trying to do, most of my shots were landing out and nothing was going my way.

"It was crazy what was happening out there, and I couldn't find any solutions. I feel like I was just turning down the hill, and I'm happy that I took my time.

"I started thinking a little bit more. Started figuring out why I was rushing so much and why I was going for extreme things. After a bit of processing and thinking, I think that helped settle things down and have a fresh new start of the match."

Rublev accepted his display against Querrey was dismal, saying: "I was feeling completely tight. I choke another level. From the first point of the match till the last match of the match I was completely frozen. I couldn't do one step, I could only hit, I was tight like I don't know."

 

BERRETTINI FEELING OLD...AT 24!

Matteo Berrettini breezed past Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-1 6-3 before railing against the relentless march of time.

At just 24, the Italian is already feeling like a veteran after seeing the impressive exploits of compatriots Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti, who are both teenagers.

"Now it's crazy. Until last year I was the young one," exclaimed Berrettini, who faces Lloyd Harris in round two.

"Now these two are with big steps stepping in. I mean, my career is completely different compared to theirs. They started really young.

"This is my third Roland Garros, and I'm 24. Probably them at 24, they would have played already maybe six Roland Garros. It's definitely different."

 

GASQUET AND SIMON LEAD FRENCH CASUALTIES

Canadian ninth seed Denis Shapovalov was tested by experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon but won through 6-2 7-5 5-7 6-3, while 18th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov drubbed another Frenchman in Gregoire Barrere, landing a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win.

Roberto Bautista Agut added to the French misery, sinking fellow veteran Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 6-1, and lesser-known players also exited their home grand slam as Ugo Humbert, Quentin Halys and Harold Mayot also bowed out.

Kristina Mladenovic called for video technology to be available to tennis umpires after being on the wrong end of a glaring error at the French Open that Martina Navratilova described as "awful".

The French player was leading 5-1 and had a point for the first set against Laura Siegemund of Germany on Court Philippe-Chatrier, the tournament's main arena, when she hit a drop shot that looked set to be a winner.

A scrambling Siegemund got to the ball, but it bounced for a second time just before she scooped it over the net. Mladenovic charged forward and swatted the ball away decisively but also collided with the net in doing so.

That cost Mladenovic the point ultimately, as umpire Eva Asderaki had not spotted the double bounce and would not accept the protests of the home player who lost her focus and surrendered the match 7-5 6-3.

While Siegemund controversially reached the second round, there were also wins on day three at Roland Garros for seeds including Sofia Kenin, as well as former champion Jelena Ostapenko.

'SHE DIDN'T DO HER JOB'

Mladenovic had every right to feel aggrieved by the double-bounce incident, although losing in straight sets from such a dominant position was far from clever.

At the recent US Open, she led Russian Varvara Gracheva 6-1 5-1 in round two but also managed to lose, dropping the deciding set 6-0, and this was another grand slam let-down for the former world number 10.

Asked about the idea of video technology being introduced in Paris, Mladenovic said: "This would avoid mistakes like the one I experienced today. The error is human and it's a shame to want to replace the human being with the camera, but I don't understand how the umpire could not have seen the ball and the reactions.

"She didn't do her job. I told her to watch the replay afterwards, but that won't change anything. She [the umpire] continues at Roland Garros, not me."

Mladenovic said she had no grievance with Siegemund, and said the onus was not on the German player to hold up her hand.

"She would have been the best and most fair player on the tour if she would have done that," Mladenovic said in a news conference.

"Unfortunately, she didn't. I didn't expect her to do it. But if she would have done it, she would have all my respect and be super-fair play. But she's not the one responsible. I think the chair umpire is the one that should be really focused on that call."

Navratilova, who won two of her 18 grand slam singles titles at the French Open, took in the drama and wrote on Twitter: "That was awful- the ump who is usually great missed that one.

"And in the old days we would have called it on ourselves but these days it’s different. For sure Siegemund knew she didn’t get it on the first bounce et voila- it totally turned the match as Mladenovic knew it… shame."

OSTAPENKO NEXT FOR 'TERRIBLE' PLISKOVA

Second seed Pliskova served eight double faults and had 46 unforced errors in her 6-7 (9-11) 6-2 6-4 win over Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif.

She was not hiding afterwards from the fact it was a poor display, given her lofty stature in the game, but Pliskova was just glad to survive an off day.

"No matter how terrible was my level, I still somehow believed," she said.

Pliskova, who is contending with a thigh problem, faces the unseeded former champion Jelena Ostapenko next, in what is an appetising second-round clash.

Ostapenko's 2017 Roland Garros triumph came ostensibly out of the blue, given her hard-hitting but erratic game. On the weeks and fortnights when she finds her range, she can be formidable.

First-round defeats in 2018 and 2019 followed the title-winning year for Ostapenko at the French Open, but a 6-2 6-1 win over American Madison Brengle was an eye-catching result on Tuesday.

"With Jelena, we had some good matches, some strange matches," Pliskova said. "I think she's a lot up and down but for sure she can just play well."

 

KENIN BANISHES ROME 'DISASTER'

Sofia Kenin admitted her 'double bagel' defeat to Victoria Azarenka in Rome had been hard to swallow, so the Australian Open winner was relieved to get back to winning ways.

Kenin lost 6-0 6-0 to Azarenka less than a fortnight ago but the fourth seed at Roland Garros showed battling spirit to beat Ludmilla Samsonova 6-4 3-6 6-3 in an hour and 58 minutes of a rain-interrupted clash on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

"After Rome, that's a match that I never want to watch," Kenin said. "Of course, Vika played really well.

"After that, we came to Paris and I had a week or so to practise, get used to the clay. I just tried to not think about that match. It was kind of a disaster."

TEENAGER TAUSON OUTLASTS BRADY

The year may be one that many would rather forget, but Jennifer Brady has had the season of her life. Her hopes of French Open success were dashed immediately, however, when the American became a first-round casualty.

Landing her first WTA Tour title in Lexington in August was followed by Brady reaching the US Open semi-finals, but the 21st seed fell to 17-year-old Danish qualifier Clara Tauson in Paris, suffering a 6-4 3-6 9-7 defeat.

Tauson later wrote on Instagram: "Young girl big dreams... toughest match of my life. See you in round [two]."

Novak Djokovic began his bid for French Open glory with an emphatic first-round victory over Mikael Ymer.

The Serbian triumphed 6-0 6-2 6-3 on Court Philippe-Chatrier in just 98 minutes.

After winning a match that saw him convert nine of 11 break points, Djokovic will meet Ricardas Berankis or Hugo Dellien in the second round.

As he looks to put his US Open disqualification for inadvertently hitting the ball at a line judge behind him, Djokovic is seen as the main challenger to 12-time champion Rafael Nadal, who had started his tournament with a straight-sets win a day earlier.

The first-ever meeting between Djokovic and Ymer in Paris on Tuesday was one-sided throughout and a story of total dominance in the opening set.

World number one Djokovic, who won his first Rome title for five years as preparation for the last grand slam of the year, dropped just seven points and had the lead after only 22 minutes.

It looked like more of the same in the second set when Ymer was broken in the third game and, despite the Swede striking straight back, it ultimately proved that way as the relentless 2016 champion did not allow him to get a foothold in the contest.

Ymer showed some fight again in the third, breaking Djokovic having earlier fallen behind to bring it back to 3-3.

But Djokovic, who only allowed two break points in the match and lost both, reeled off three consecutive games and sealed a straightforward victory on his first match point with a forehand winner.

Andy Murray is planning a busy finish to 2020 in a bid to bounce back from his disappointing first-round exit at the French Open.

The Briton lost 6-1 6-3 6-2 to Stan Wawrinka in Paris on Sunday to follow up a second-round departure at the US Open.

In the immediate aftermath of his French Open loss, Murray vowed not to "brush aside" the heavy defeat and insisted he would analyse it to understand the reasons.

Looking ahead to the remainder of a year that has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the 33-year-old has discussed plans to play two consecutive indoor ATP 250 events in Cologne next.

"I know tournament-wise I'm going to try to play as much as I can between now and the end of the year," he told reporters.

"The plan is to play in Cologne, the two tournaments there.

"Probably the only positive of [going out early] is I will get more time to prepare on the indoor hard courts for that."

Later in the year, Murray hopes to travel to Australia, with the ATP Cup a possibility at the start of next season after he had to withdraw through injury earlier this year.

"We don't know exactly what the rules are going to be for Australia, but it's looking like you'll have to get there very early to prepare for that," he said.

"I'd like to play in the ATP Cup because I was supposed to last year [the 2020 edition], and it looked like a great event – or [I will play] another ATP event on in Australia at the beginning of the year if I'm not in the ATP Cup team.

"My plan is to for sure go to Australia. I just don't know exactly what the exact situation is in terms of what date we would have to go, because by the sounds of it, it's pretty early, like mid-December."

Daniil Medvedev suffered a stunning late-night defeat to Marton Fucsovics after Rafael Nadal beat Egor Gerasimov in the first round of the French Open on Monday.

Fourth seed Medvedev became the biggest casualty in the men's draw at Roland Garros as Hungarian Fucsovics, ranked 63, won 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-1 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

It was after 11.30pm in Paris when the 28-year-old Fucsovics secured the first win against a top-five opponent in his career under the floodlights.

Medvedev lost the second set when he was given a point penalty for smashing his racket on an evening to forget for the Russian, who prompted raised eyebrows from his opponent when he won a point with an underarm serve.

Nadal overcame Gerasimov 6-4 6-4 6-2 and made notable strides from his quarter-final loss to Diego Schwartzman at the Internazionali d'Italia, while US Open champion Dominic Thiem also cruised into the second round.

The shocks came as eighth seed Gael Monfils, a semi-finalist in 2008, lost 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 to Alexander Bublik while 19th seed and rising star Felix Auger Aliassime was defeated by Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5 6-3 6-3.

Monfils' compatriot Corentin Moutet was knocked out by qualifier Lorenzo Giustino in a marathon five-setter and clay-court specialist Fabio Fognini tumbled out in four sets in his match with Mikhail Kukushkin.

NADAL RESUMES NORMAL SERVICE

Having struggled on serve in his surprise defeat to Schwartzman in the last eight in Rome, Nadal was much improved in that regard against Gerasimov.

He won 82 per cent of points on his first serve, with his improvement in that area leaving Nadal satisfied after coming through the first test in his quest for title number 13.

"I am trying to serve with high percentage. That's the first step that I have to do," said Nadal. "When I know that I can have a big percentage of first serves, then is the moment to increase the speed and increase the aggressiveness on the serve, no? Step by step. Today was the first step.

"Tomorrow, another day for practice. That's the only thing that I try to look at at this tournament, no? Try to be happy about every single improvement and try to give me a chance to be better every day."

THIEM NOT CAUGHT COLD BY CILIC

Thiem, fresh off his victory at Flushing Meadows, comfortably prevailed in a battle of US Open champions with Marin Cilic, spoiling the Croatian's 32nd birthday.

Thiem triumphed 6-4 6-3 6-3 and, while much has been made of the cold and the heavier balls at this year's event, the conditions are of no concern to the Austrian.

He said: "Conditions, I'm used to them or I know how to play in those kinds of conditions obviously because in Austria, we have many days like that. And then from junior times and when I started to play professional on the futures in March in Croatia or Czech Republic, there were many tournaments with similar conditions. Cold, heavy balls.

"So, it's not really something new for me, and it helps against guys like Marin, because it's a little bit easier to return many serves back in the court and to run down almost every ball. So, I like these conditions. And anyway, we have to do the best we can, because it's a very special year."

MOUTET LOSES SIX-HOUR MARATHON

There was more disappointment for the small number of home fans as Moutet followed Monfils in tumbling out of the tournament, albeit in significantly more dramatic fashion.

Moutet will have been expected to come through his clash with Giustino with little difficulty but was outlasted in an epic that was finally settled after six hours and five minutes of play.

Giustino progressed 0-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 18-16 and fell to his back in celebration as he came through a marathon encounter.

Asked for his thoughts on the contest, Moutet said: "My feelings, I don't know. We played a really long match, so I don't know. I don't feel anything in my body right now. I feel empty."

Serena Williams is ready to go the distance with Tsvetana Pironkova again at a grand slam after clearing the first hurdle in her bid for French Open glory.

Williams, who turned 39 on Saturday, took her time to warm up on a cool Monday in Paris, Kristie Ahn making life particularly difficult for the sixth seed in a well-contested opening set.

The American duo had also met in the opening round of the US Open and - as was the case in New York - the favourite eventually prevailed in straight sets,meaning a clash with another familiar foe next.

Pironkova threatened to cause an upset when they did battle in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows earlier this month, though faded down the stretch to lose in three.

Still, Williams - chasing a 24th slam to move level with Margaret Court's record - expects another tough test from the Bulgarian, who defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-3.

"She's playing well, but I am too. I'm ready to play her. She'll be ready to play me," the three-time French Open champion said in her post-match press conference. 

"It will be a long match, she will get a lot of balls back, but so am I. I'll be ready."

Williams revealed she was a little flat against Ahn in a first set that went to a tie break, before a more positive approach allowed her to breeze through the second without dropping a game.

"The biggest difference was just confidence. I just need to play with more confidence, like I'm Serena," she said. "So that was it. I just started playing like that. And I love the clay and I started playing like it, opening the court and moving and sliding."

SUCCESS FOR SEEDS ON DAY TWO

Three other top-10 seeds at the tournament avoided early exits. Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Petra Kvitova prevailing, though none of the trio had it all their own way.

Bertens was in danger of going home early when the fifth seed fell a set behind but rallied impressively to see off Katarina Zavatska 2-6 6-2 6-0.

Seventh seed Kvitova overcame Oceane Dodin 6-3 7-5, though admitted afterwards her opponent had made her work for the win.

"You know, she didn't make that many mistakes and it was really a tough one," Kvitova - a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2012 - told the media. "I just really tried to stay there mentally strong and wait for the chance to break her and serve well."

Meanwhile, Svitolina, the third seed, triumphed 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 against Russian Varvara Gracheva.

KEYS LOST IN FRENCH CAPITAL, KERBER CRASHES OUT

Madison Keys, the 12th seed, was on the wrong end of an upset, the American beaten in straight sets by Zhang Shuai.

Prior to that match on the same court, 15th seed Marketa Vondrousova was crushed by Iga Swiatek of Poland, winning just three games in a surprisingly lopsided contest that spanned just 63 minutes.

Angelique Kerber also suffered a shock exit, the three-time major winner going down 6-3 6-3 to world number 102 Kaja Juvan.

Karolina Muchova was also dumped out, going down to Christina McHale, but 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza avoided a similar fate against Tamara Zidansek, overcoming a one-set deficit to eventually prevail 5-7 6-4 8-6.

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