Halep, Radwanska show no signs of injury in dominant wins

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Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska looked to be over their recent injury concerns as they picked up straight-sets victories in their first-round French Open matches on Tuesday.

Third seed Halep - considered a top contender for the title with Serena Williams absent and Angelique Kerber eliminated - ousted Jana Cepelova 6-2 6-3, despite her campaign having been in doubt due to an ankle injury.

After a month off the Tour, Radwanska returned in equally formidable fashion as she beat Fiona Ferro 6-1 6-1, while there were also comfortable wins for Carla Suarez Navarro, Madison Keys, Caroline Garcia and 17-year-old Marketa Vondrousova - the first of her career at a major.

Eugenie Bouchard fought from one set down to see off Risa Ozaki 2-6 6-3 6-2 and Kristyna Pliskova fell to home hope Chloe Paquet 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-2.

 

NO PAIN, PLENTY OF GAMES

Halep showed no signs of the ankle ligament injury sustained in the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia as she waltzed into round two in just 67 minutes.

Cepelova was unable to contain the Romanian, who eased into a match against world number 102 Tatjana Maria.

When asked about her ankle, Halep said: "I still feel a little pain, but it's nothing dangerous, so I can play. It's still a little bit broken [the ligament], but it's like 80 per cent recovered, so looks good and I have confidence that it's going to be okay this tournament."

Radwanska saw off French wildcard Ferro, dropping just two games in a more than comfortable victory. Not bad for just a second match on clay after skipping Madrid and Rome with a foot injury.

SVITOLINA'S SWEET SUCCESS

After beating Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza and Halep en route to the Rome title, Elina Svitolina has joined the Romanian as many pundits' favourite for the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.

The Ukrainian still has a way to go to live up to that billing but she looked as comfortable as anyone on Tuesday with a 6-4 6-3 win over Yaroslava Shvedova, avenging a loss at Wimbledon last year.

Svitolina has won more matches than anyone on the WTA Tour this year and is relishing the challenge of balancing tough expectations with growing confidence.

"I tried to not have anything on my mind," she said. "Just go out there and do what I do the best, play my game, be really focused on what I have to do."

Next up for Svitolina is Tsvetana Pironkova. The Bulgarian was a quarter-finalist here a year ago but her 6-0 6-4 win over Mona Barthel was only her second in main-draw action all year.

 

ANOTHER KONTA COLLAPSE ON CLAY

Johanna Konta, more than most, will find it good to get back to the green, green grass of home in a few weeks.

The British player has suffered a miserable time on clay this year and went out in the first round for the second time in three tournaments with a 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 defeat to Hsieh Su-wei.

Nursing a 2-4 record on the red stuff this season and reflecting on a third straight first-round exit at Roland Garros, Konta will hope that she can improve on grass, although a second-round exit at Wimbledon 2016 suggests that the struggle could remain for the 26-year-old, who won a first WTA Premier title in Miami in happier times earlier in the year.

ALL IS NOT ALWAYS FAIR IN LOVE AND TENNIS

After beating Timea Babos 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 to set up a second-round encounter against Barbora Strycova, Alize Cornet spoke to the media about how she enjoys playing against boyfriend Michael Kuzaj - something that was not the case with a previous partner.

Cornet said: "I do like to play tennis with him [Kuzaj], because he's a good sport. I have had several boyfriends - I take that back. I have had one boyfriend, sorry, one boyfriend who was a tennis player, and it was not fun to play with him because we had a very different approach.

"I don't like to lose, that's the way I am. It was not fun to play with him. But with Michael, who is my partner and is also taking care of me at the French Open, it's very different. He's good sport and he plays tennis for fun. I think that all he wants to give me is positive vibes."