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French Open: Iga begins title defence in style, 16th seed Kiki ousted

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Paris, May 31 (IANS) Polish tennis ace and world No. 9 Iga Swiatek posted an impressive 6-0, 7-5 win over Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan to begin her French Open title defence in style on Monday.

The 20-year-old player, untouchable in the first set where she dropped just nine points but had to work hard in the second, took one hour and 27 minutes to move into the second round and set up a clash with Sweden’s world No.60 Rebecca Peterson.

Rebecca came from a set and 2-5 down to beat Shelby Rogers of the USA 6-7(3), 7-6(8), 6-2 in a three-hour slugfest. That result means Iga will avoid the dangerous 47th ranked Shelby, who has to her credit five top 20 wins in the past year.

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Two seeded players in the draw, No. 20 Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic and No.16 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, emerged from three-set tussles with different outcomes.

Marketa, the 2019 runner-up, got the better of upset artist Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. She will next face wildcard Harmony Tan of France. Harmony triumphed in an all-French affair, overcoming Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-4.

However, 16th ranked Kiki failed to get past the Polona Hercog hurdle, losing 1-6, 6-3, 4-6 to the 30-year-old Slovenian ranked 73rd in the world.

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“You never know what’s going to happen when you are coming out on a court as a defending champion. I’ve never been in a situation like that. I’m really glad I could handle that pretty well and just play tennis, play a normal match without having in the back of my mind that I’m defending the title,” Iga said after her first round win over Kaja.

Iga picked up where she had left off two weeks ago in Rome. She had captured that title whitewashing Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0.

–IANS

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