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French Open 2020: Halep relishes ‘perfect present’ with first-round win

Former champion brushes aside Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 28, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Sep 28, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

Photo: AFP

Top seed Simona Halep said her first-round win in the French Open 2020 was her perfect birthday gift.

The 2018 champion, who turned 29 on Sunday, swept into the second round with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Spanish world number 70 Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Playing under the roof, second-ranked Halep trailed 4-2 but claimed the final 10 games to progress in 82 minutes.

“The perfect present was that I won today,” said Halep who was celebrating her 29th birthday.

Moreover, Stan Wawrinka brushed aside fellow three-time major winner Andy Murray in the day’s marquee clash.

Murray, playing his first clay court match since losing a five-set semi-final to the Swiss star in 2017, may have wished it had remained shut as 16th seed Wawrinka swept to a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 win.

The 35-year-old fired 42 winners past wildcard Murray, now ranked at 111 in the world after being pushed to the brink of retirement by his lengthy battle with a hip injury.

“I should be analysing that hard and trying to understand why the performance was like that,” said 33-year-old Murray after his joint-worst defeat at a Slam.

Wawrinka added: “I was really focused with a champion like Andy, even if the scoreboard is only one side like today, you have to keep focus. You never know what can happen.”

Italian teenager Jannik Sinner had the honour of claiming the first ever win under the roof, demolishing Belgian 11th seed David Goffin 7-5, 6-0, 6-3.

Another rookie winner was Sebastian Korda, the son of 1992 Roland Garros runner-up and 1998 Australian Open champion Petr, who saw off Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Venus Williams, now 40 and who played her first Roland Garros in 1997, saved two match points but not the third as she fell to a 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia who hadn’t won a match at a Slam in five years.

Schmiedlova will face Victoria Azarenka, who kicked off her campaign in perfect fashion, in the second round.

On a grim day for Britain, ninth seed and 2019 semi-finalist Johanna Konta was knocked out by teenage sensation Coco Gauff having committed 41 unforced errors.

The 16-year-old American, making her debut in the main draw having been the junior champion just two years ago, eased to a 6-3, 6-3 win despite serving up 12 double faults.

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