Paris: Roger Federer marked his return to Roland Garros after a four-year absence with a straight sets win over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego on Sunday, admitting he felt on edge, as Angelique Kerber’s hopes of completing a career Grand Slam suffered a quick kill. Federer, a 20-time major winner, hadn’t played the tournament since 2015 when he reached the quarter-finals. However, on Sunday, it was as if the 37-year-old had never been away as he swept to a 6-2 6-4 6-4 victory in one hour 41 minutes on a packed, rebuilt Court Philippe Chatrier.
That match will be against German lucky loser Oscar Otte who won just his second match in eight years on the tour by seeing off Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-0. German fifth seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Kerber saw her hopes of a career Grand Slam ended by Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova. Kerber slumped to a 6-4 6-2 defeat to 18-year-old Potapova who was making her French Open debut. Kerber, 31, has now lost six times in the French Open first round. The German left-hander had come into Roland Garros carrying a right ankle injury which forced her to pull out of the Italian Open and retire from her second round tie in Madrid. Potapova’s first win over a top 10 player gives her a second round clash against 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.
Greek sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, brushed aside Germany’s Maximilian Marterer 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7/4). Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, won against America’s Taylor Townsend and the 19th seed marked the occasion with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win. Other winners on the first day included Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori, a quarter-finalist in 2015, who eased past France’s Quentin Halys 6-2 6-3 6-4. Marco Cecchinato, lost to 37-year-old Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, who has slipped to 253 in the world — 2-6 6-7 (6/8) 6-4 6-2 6-4. Second seed Karolina Pliskova closed play on Chatrier with a 6-2 6-3 win over Madison Brengle of the US. Venus knocked out: American tennis player Venus Williams was knocked out as she was defeated by world number nine Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3 in the first round. Prajnesh out: India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran crashed out after he was beaten by Hugo Dellien of Bolivia 1-6, 3-6, 1-6.