The women's top seed rolled on but the defending champion slumped out as technology undermined a former winner's big moment.
Reign in the rain
Top seed Iga Swiatek won the 2020 French Open at the tender age of 18. Two years on she’s world number one and has been viciously taking meaty chunks out of her opponents during a 28-match unbeaten streak in which she was won crowns on the hard courts in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami. She’s also claimed titles on the clay in Stuttgart and Rome. Before her first round match against world number 119 Lesia Tsurenko, 13 of her winning sets have been 6-0. Because of the rain lashing down on the French capital early on Day 2, the centre court roof was closed. But it didn’t affect Swiatek. Make that 29 matches unbeaten and a 14th 6-0 set. All over in 54 minutes. 6-2, 6-0.
Turn it on
For the first 40 minutes of the match between defending champion Barbora Krejcikova and the French teenager Diane Parry, it appeared that Krejcikova was going to mash up the 19-year-old just like Swiatek had done with Tsurenko. It was 6-1, 2-0. But then Krejcikova, who was playing in her first tournament after three months out with an elbow injury, started clocking up the errors as she tired. “From the middle of the second set she started to play better and I started to play worse,” said Krejcikova. “I hit a wall physically.” The partisans really didn’t mind the splatter.
Joy for the world
Well imagine the joie de vivre following Diane Parry’s victory. There was even a tweet riffing on the slogan from the Ligue 1 football champions Paris Saint Germain: “Ici c’est Parry”. Get it? Andy why not? It’s a big thing for the defending champion to be dispatched in the first round. It hasn’t happened among the women since the 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko was carved up in 2018 by Kateryna Kozlova. While the French media might be exultant, not the 19-year-old who used to pass by the stadium on her way to school. “I'm not someone who externalizes a lot or who shows a lot,” Parry said a couple of hours after the win. “I won't change because of this victory and all that I have I've been through on the court.” Good thinking
Day 2 and the review’s already tapping the musical and film references. We might throw in Crash Test Dummies too. But that might be too cruel an allusion to describe the debut appearance of former Roland Garros champion Mats Wilander as one of the on-court interviewers. He was announced and on he came looking elegant in a dark suit to talk to Iga Swiatek. He asked the questions but the acoustics were appalling under the roof. We were promised translations on the giant screens – none popped up. And all Swiatek’s compliments about being happy to be back in Paris were lost in the lack of translation.
A new feature before the 9pm night match on centre court is a little son et lumière. DJ Bon Entendeur got us into the groove with some cool rhythms before the top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic came out for his first round tie against Yoshihito Nishioka from Japan. The 34-year-old Serb was clearly a little out of synch. He had to fend off three break points before winning his opening service game in 10 minutes.