It's the headline that probably no one wants to write, but there it is. Despite her very strong opening rounds at the Italian Open, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone made a straight-sets exit at Roland Garros today, courtesy of Ajla Tomljanovic. The artistic and endlessly entertaining Schiavone, who was also the French Open runner-up in 2011, will be 34 years old next month.
A seeded player was toppled on opening day, too. Kaia Kanepi, seeded number 25, lost to Monica Niculescu.
Top seed and defending champion Serena Williams defeated her pal, Alize Lim, in straight sets. Williams had an unusually hard time closing the final point and acknowledged that she was a bit nervous. Her sister, Venus, sent home young Swiss rising star Belinda Bencic, also in straight sets.
Both Aga Radwanska and Angelique Kerber looked great in their first rounds, as they defeated Zhang Shuai and Katarzyna Piter, respectively. It was a bit of slow start for Radwanska, however, as she had to struggle through eight consecutive breaks of serve. Maria Kirilenko, sadly but not unexpectedly, is out in the first round. Coming back from a long injury layoff is always difficult because with each loss of a match, there is usually some loss of confidence.
An interesting Day 1 note: The Bulgarian Woman of Mystery, Tsvetana Pironkova, won her opening round! Please--don't anyone tell her that it's a major tournament on red clay. Pironkova defeated Annika Beck.
Zheng Jie is out, defeated by Anna Schmiedlova, who will get Venus Williams next. And next for Serena is Garbine Muguruza, the young, big-hitting Spanish player who is on the rise.
Don't miss Joel Drucker's expert deconstruction of the clay court genius of the great Chris Evert.
Sloane Stephens plays Peng Shuai tomorrow. Stephens is 0-2 against the Chinese player; both of their matches were played on clay. Also tomorrow, 2014 Strasbourg champion Monica Puig takes on 2010 French Open finalist Sam Stosur,