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Players grumble over ‘nasty’ French Open


Players were left frustrated by the wet, cold and windy conditions at Roland Garros.

Romania’s Simona Halep in action during her first round match against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo at the French Open at Roland Garros, Paris, France. Picture: Reuters, Charles Platiau

PARIS – Top seed Simona Halep celebrated her 29th birthday in style with a 6-4 6-0 victory over Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo on the opening day of the French Open on Sunday, while other players were left frustrated by the wet, windy and cold conditions.

Former champion Halep, who skipped last month’s US Open due to Covid-19 concerns, became the first women’s winner under Court Philippe Chatrier’s new retractable roof as she escaped the worst of the weather.

Making her Roland Garros main draw debut, 16-year-old US sensation Coco Gauff continued to impress by claiming the fourth win of her career over a top-20 player as she eased past the ninth seed Johanna Konta 6-3 6-3.

Former World No 1 Victoria Azarenka complained on court about the “ridiculous” playing conditions but did enough to beat Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic 6-1 6-2.

“I’m glad that I’m able to finish and now I can watch everybody struggle with this weather,” Azarenka noted.

Big-serving American John Isner does not usually play on a damp claycourt and reckoned it was “a bit nasty out there” but he looked right at home in a 6-4 6-1 6-3 win over French wildcard Elliot Benchetrit.

Italian teenager Jannik Sinner pulled off the biggest upset at the start of the men’s tournament as he knocked out 11th seeded Belgian David Goffin 7-5 6-0 6-3.

Britain’s Andy Murray, who needed a wildcard to make his first Roland Garros appearance in three years, was well below par as he suffered a 6-1 6-3 6-2 defeat by Stan Wawrinka in a battle of three-time Grand Slam champions.