Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka both comfortably won their first-round matches on Sunday at the French Open, while Venus Williams slumped to opening defeat.
Arriving to Paris on the wings of her Rome title, top seed Simona Halep extended her winning streak to 15 matches by beating Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4 6-0. On her 29th birthday, the 2018 Roland Garros champion Halep quickly found herself 4-2 down, but once she found her range and variations, it turned into a breezy victory.
Halep’s second-round opponent will be fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, who advanced with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann.
Players needed much more than a warm-up jacket to withstand the fall weather in Paris. As the 2020 French Open has been pushed back from May-June to late September because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the temperatures are much less pleasant.
Victoria Azarenka complained about the conditions, even though in the end she lost just three games in the first round against Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic. The tenth-seeded Azarenka, whose match was suspended after just three games for over a half-hour due to rainy and wet conditions, was stressed about the super cold weather and expressed concern over safety as the court was heavier due to the persistent drizzle.
In the second round, Azarenka will play against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, as the Slovak snapped a 12-match Grand Slam losing streak by overcoming Venus Williams 6-4 6-4. With a chill wind blowing, Schmiedlova came back from 3-1 and 4-2 down to edge a 68-minute first set. After fighting back from 4-1 down in the second set, Williams saved two match points but eventually succumbed to her younger opponent who is playing under a special ranking because of a knee surgery.
The 40-year-old Williams, the oldest player in the draw, is done with the 2020 season:
I’m going home from here. I’m done. If there is somewhere to play, I won’t be there.