Sloane Stephens post straight-set wins at French Open
Former champion Garbine Muguruza and last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens both posted straight-set wins Wednesday to reach the third round of the French Open.
On a sunny morning in the French capital, Muguruza beat Johanna Larsson 6-4, 6-1 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Seeded 19th this year, Muguruza won the title at Roland Garros in 2016 when she upset Serena Williams in the final. The Spanish player is expected to face tougher opposition in her next match against ninth-seeded Elina Svitolina, who progressed to the third round without hitting a shot.
Svitolina was set to play 67th-ranked Kateryna Kozlova but organizers said the Ukrainian player withdrew with “intercostal pain.” She twice reached the quarterfinals in Paris.
Stephens, who lost to Simona Halep in last year’s final, needed a bit more time to prevail 6-1, 7-6 (3) against the gritty but error-prone Sara Sorribes Tormo.
In a match that featured 11 breaks of serve, Stephens could not hold on to a 3-0 lead in the second set and Sorribes Tormo twice had the opportunity to level at 1-set apiece on her serve. A turning point came in the 11th game when the 22-year-old Spaniard hit two consecutive double-faults to drop serve.
The seventh-seeded Stephens hit a series of winners in the tiebreaker and sealed the match with a backhand down the line.
“Just decided to keep it exciting, to play a bit longer on that court,” Stephens joked. “I missed it from last year.”
Later, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were to play German qualifiers in second-round matches. Federer faces 144th-ranked Oscar Otte while Nadal meets 114th-ranked Yannick Maden.
Federer is playing at Roland Garros after a four-year absence. Nadal is aiming for a record-extending 12th title at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament.