Day 2 of the 2015 French Open

kim kardashian

The 2015 Roland Garros tournament continues first round play. Moving past the off-court drama that surrounded opening day, Monday sported some interesting results on both the men and women’s side, but at the end of the day the favorites are still holding strong.

Let’s begin with the women. 

Sloane Stephens made headlines today after beating No. 15 Venus Williams 7-6 (5), 6-1. The first round loss by Williams is no longer a shocker for fans who have witnessed her second early exit in the last three years at the French Open. 34-year old Williams is starting to show sign of decline. Her loss also marked the fifth time she faced elimination in the opening round in her previous 13 Grand Slam competitions. 

Williams opted out of her post-match press conference, which will probably result in a fine. She responded to her loss in a released statement: “When you arrive at any tournament, you hope you will have a chance to work your way into the event, but I didn’t have that opportunity – she just played better than me today.”

Photo: Susan Mullane, USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Susan Mullane, USA TODAY Sports

Stephens hopes to stay consistent, and she’s likely to do so, given that she’s reached fourth round play the last three years at Roland Garros.

In a surprising upset, No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska couldn’t hold off No. 83 Annika Beck, losing in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Radwanska entered the tournament as the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2012 and with a 33-2 record in the first round of Grand Slams.

Another seeded woman, No. 22 Barbora Strycova, lost in competition to Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.

The favorites in the women’s event easily made it past their opponents. No. 8 Carla Suarez Navarro defeated Monica Niculescu 6-2, 6-2, and No. 11 Angelique Kerber, a skillful player on clay, dominated Hungary’s Timea Babos, only losing one game to her.

We cannot talk about favorites without mentioning the current French Open champion Maria Sharapova and the two-time Australian open champion Victoria Azarenka.

Azarenka returns to French Open play after missing last year with a foot injury. No. 27 Azarenka brushed aside Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-2, 6-1.

The two-time event winner Maria Sharapova bested two-time French Open quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-4, despite her fight against the cold. Sharapova was sneered at and booed by fans when she declined to follow through with her post-match interview. She spoke with reporters after the match, “I totally understand that, you know, everyone usually does post-(match) interviews and answers a few questions to the crowd.”

France’s women had a solid showing today with No. 29 Alize Cornet defeating Roberta Vinci 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. It only took Cornet an exhaustive five meetings to finally overcome the Italian. After being down a set in her 17th Roland Garros appearance, Virginie Razzano made a strong comeback to victory against Veronica Cepede Royg. And lastly, Amandine Hesse made the same story as Razzano, rallying from behind to beat Jarmila Gajdosova in three sets.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the American women. No. 36 Madison Brengle couldn’t replicate her form from Melbourne losing to the 2010 French Open finalist Sam Stosur. Australian Sam Stosur came into competition in a strong wind, claiming a recent title at Strasbourg International. Now she faces Amandine Hesse in the second round.

Not only did American Nicole Gibbs fall to Alexandra Dulgheru, but Alison Riske, who happened to make the second round of the French Open last year, met the same fate in her match against Sara Errani. It was a difficult matchup considering Errani made it to the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in her last three trips to the French major.

Now onto the men’s side.

Monday saw the Grand Slam debut of 17-year old, Frances Tiafoe. The American is a prodigious development being represented by Jay-Z’s sports agency. Though he lost to No. 36 Martin Klizan, Tiafoe does not discount himself from improving his game. He told reporters after the match, “it was great. I had a blast. I need to get a lot better. There are some things I need to work on … to be playing at his level or higher.”

The highest seed to fall today was the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Ranked No. 11, Lopez was known to never quite perform at his best on clay, but a first round exit to No. 74 Teymuraz Gabashvili was a major shock.

No. 4 Tomas Berdych did not falter against Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, winning 6-0, 7-5, 6-3. Berdych moves on to face the oldest man in the tournament, Radek Stepanek. At 36-years old, Stepanek faced trouble early but stuck to his advantage in experience, beating Ivan Dodig 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

Other favorites in the men’s event saw No. 28 Fabio Fognini defeat Tatsuma Ito, and France’s own Gael Monfils triumphed over his fellow countryman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in four total sets.

Apart from Kei Nishikori, the Japanese men in the field have not performed well. In addition to Ito’s loss, Taro Daniel also let No. 32 Fernando Verdasco get the better of him in 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Andy Murray, ranked third in the French Open this year, is aiming to make his way to the top. Murray easily edged out Facundo Arguello with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win. He is currently undefeated this season on clay, posting up an incredible 10 wins, one of which came against whom many think is the most tremendous talent on clay, Rafael Nadal, in the final at Madrid.

Image via: flickr/Marianne Bevis

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