Seed No.18 Flavia Pennetta was the highest seed to fall on the first day of the 2011 French Open. The Italian’s errors piled up and despite winning the second set and saving four match points, she lost to American Varvara Lepchenko and her mummified knees 6-3 2-6 6-3. Lepchenko’s next opponent will be fellow American, Bethanie Mattek Sands, who toughed it out against Arantxa Parra Santonja (as for Bethanie’s outfit, well, it’s disappointingly conservative this time).
One more seed was upset on the opening day – No.19 seed Shahar Peer lost to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 7-6(4) 6-1. Marinez Sanchez fell from No.33 to No.84 in the rankings after the recent Premier-level Rome tournament, which she surprisingly won last year but exited in the first round this year, thus failing to defend a lot of points. As for her Roland Garros performance, last year she lost in the opening round, while her best results was the third-round showing in 2009. The Spaniard’s next opponent will be Rebecca Marino, who needed 57 minutes to win her first career French Open match against Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3 6-3.
Last year’s runner-up Samantha Stosur is through, as well as other seeded players: Jelena Jankovic, past champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Julia Goerges and Tsvetana Pironkova. They all progressed in straight sets.
I’d like to mention that former Top 5 player Jelena Dokic also played today, but lost to Vera Dushevina in three sets. (photo courtesy of our reader Tony)