Rafael Nadal also reached the next stage of the Grand Slam after beating Alexei Popyrin.

India’s Rohan Bopanna and his partner Franko Skugor of Croatia sailed through to the second round of the Men’s Doubles event at the French Open. The Indo-Croat combination took just over an hour to dispose of Germany’s Andre Begemann and Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia. After a 6-4, 6-2 win in the first round, Bopanna and Skugor will next face the winner of the match between the American duo of Nicholas Monroe and Francis Tiafoe and eighth seeds Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot of Poland.

On the other hand, Indian-origin Aussie Astra Sharma won her opening round women’s singles match. She also picked up a straight-set victory, defeating Romanian Irina Bara 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

A hard fought victory for Nadal

Four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal overcame the challenge of a spirited Alexei Popyrin to reach the French Open second round. The 34-year-old defeated the Australian youngster 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

Nadal’s experience was too much for Popyrin who showed great determination in the third set of the contest. A statue of him was recently unveiled at the Roland Garros, and he followed that by picking up yet another victory at the Philippe Chatrier court.

Nadal, who has won a stunning 13 French Open crowns, is looking to surpass Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam titles won. The Spaniard’s next challenge will be in the form of Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Joy for Serena; despair for Venus

Three-time French Open champion Serena Williams began the competition with a rather comfortable victory against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania. After the first set had gone to the tiebreak, Serena easily won the second set to finish the contest. The 39-year-old who won 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, is chasing an incredible 24th Grand Slam title.

However, elder sibling Venus Williams had an evening to forget. A seven-time Grand Slam winner and one of the all-time greats of the game suffered an opening-round exit at the hands of Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round. Venus went home after a comprehensive 3-6, 1-6 defeat in straight sets.

Barty survives injury scare to reach next round; Svitolina joins her

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty overcame complications to go through the next round of the French Open. The Australian came through an injury scare to see off American Bernarda Pera 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Barty, whose sole Grand Slam title came in Paris in 2019, needed lengthy treatment on her left hip after losing the second set. Ultimately, the top seed recovered to make it through.

Elsewhere, World No.6 Elina Svitolina was another one of those high-profile names who made it through to the second round. The Ukrainian came back from a 2-5 second-set deficit to overcome French teenager Oceane Babel 6-2, 7-5 in her opening match. Svitolina, who is a three-time quarter-finalist in Paris, will face Ann Li of the United States in the second round.

Kvitova withdraws after freak injury

Two-time Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova withdrew from the French Open after a freak ankle injury sustained during her post-match media conference. The Czech would have faced Russian Elina Vesnina in the second round after her opening-round win. Instead, Vesnina will now receive a bye to the Round of 32.

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