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French Open: Reigning champion Krejcikova crashes out, Tomljanovic fells fifth seed

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Roar Guru
24th May, 2022
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Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek all got off to a winning start at Roland Garros, but the tournament has lost its first major drawcard in women’s defending champion Barbora Krejcikova.

Kicking off play on a rain-interrupted Day 2, Swiatek took just 54 minutes to dismiss Lesia Tsurenko, who had copped the short straw in drawing the top seed in the first round for the second consecutive major after losing to Ashleigh Barty at the Australian Open.

At this point play was only possible inside Court Philippe Chatrier, with most matches on the outside courts suspended due to bad weather.

Krejcikova, contesting her first match in three months after an elbow injury kept her out of the North American and European clay-court swing, took the first set in her match against Diane Parry by just 6-1 and appeared to be in cruise control.

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However, the Frenchwoman would turn the match on its head by taking the second set 6-2 to force a deciding set, before the start of which Krejcikova briefly disappeared to take a medical time-out.

The Czech doubles specialist broke for a 2-0 lead early on, but Parry, riding the support of the home crowd, claimed six of the final seven games to complete a stunning upset victory on centre court, record just her second match win at a major and advance to the second round.

The result saw Krejcikova join Anastasia Myskina (2005) and Jelena Ostapenko (2018) as defending champions in falling at the first hurdle, and it means she will almost certainly drop out of the world’s top ten when the rankings are updated at the end of the tournament.

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She wasn’t the only major name to depart on Day 2, with fifth seed Anett Kontaveit bowing out following a straight-sets defeat to top-ranked Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, who assumed that mantle after Ashleigh Barty’s retirement in March.

Tomljanovic goes on to face Varvara Gracheva, who defeated another Australian, Astra Sharma, in three sets, with the final set lasting 7-5.

(Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Former major champions Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Bianca Andreescu, Emma Raducanu and Petra Kvitova were also victorious; all except Kvitova had to come from a set down to win their respective matches.

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Kerber was forced to save two match points to defeat Poland’s Magdalena Frech to advance to the second round, keeping alive her chances of completing her set of grand slam titles.

Belinda Bencic advanced to face Bianca Andreescu in the second round, while four-time major champion Naomi Osaka bowed out after a straight-sets loss to Amanda Anisimova that was not as close as their Australian Open encounter was.

In the men’s draw, both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal won their first-round clashes with minimal fuss as they close in on a potential quarter-final clash against each other.

After Nadal bulldozed his way through Jordan Thompson for the loss of only six games, Djokovic dropped only four in his straight-sets dismissal of Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

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Ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime had to come from two sets down to defeat Austria’s Juan Pablo Varillas, while Stan Wawrinka missed out on a clash with fifth-seeded Nadal after losing to Corentin Moutet in four sets after winning the first.

Camilo Ugo Carabelli made history by becoming the first player to win the first fifth-set tiebreaker at the French Open, edging out former Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev with the final set tiebreak score reading 7-6 (10-5).

The French Open’s decision to implement the ten-point fifth-set tiebreak brings it into line with the other three majors and ensures we’ll never see a fifth-set scoreline beyond 8-6 in grand slam play as long as these rules remain in place.

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The remainder of all first-round matches were due to be played overnight, with last year’s runner-up, Stefanos Tsitsipas, recovering from two sets down to beat Italian Lorenzo Musetti, and Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev cruising past Facundo Bagnis in straight sets.

The tie between Sebastian Korda and Australia’s John Millman was decided in the American’s favour in three, while Alex de Minaur went down in five to local hero Hugo Gaston.

It was an emotional final career match for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who went up one set before having his career brought to a close in four sets by Norwegian eighth seed Casper Ruud.

On the women’s side of things, Aryna Sabalenka beat Chloe Paquet, and Paula Badosa had no trouble against Fiona Ferro in their first-round matches, setting up a potential face-off in the quarter-finals.

The 22nd seed, Madison Keys, was taken to three sets by Anna Kalinskaya but emerged victorious after a rain suspension.

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