aris is a city that makes Coco Gauff feel at ease, the American teenager insisted in the build-up to this year’s French Open.
But last year’s runner-up looked decidedly ill at ease in the opening set of her first-round match against Rebeka Masarova on Tuesday before recovering for an eventually comfortable 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 win.
The 19-year-old was a surprise finalist a year ago before being outclassed by Iga Swiatek but her form has undulated for much of the year since.
She struggled for rhythm against her Spanish opponent early on, failing to convert eight possible break points in a tight first set before recovering for a relatively straightforward win.
Defending champion Iga Swiatek was pushed far more closely than expected in her opener against Cristina Bucsa in a tight opening set which could have gone either way before edging it and won the last eight consecutive games for a 6-4, 6-0 victory.
Earlier, Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur, a year on from a shock first-round defeat in Paris, looked comfortable and confident in a 6-4, 6-1 dismantling of Lucia Bronzetti.
And the Tunisian said she was confident of a long run in the French capital. She said: “I love Paris, I love bing here. I keep wonderful memories especially after having won the junior Roland Garros. There are a lot of Tunisians that live in Paris or come over here to support me.”
Elena Rybakina, who beat Jabeur in the Wimbledon final last July, made similarly light work of her first-round opponent, defeating qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova 6-4, 6-2.
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