U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia started her quest for a first French Open title with a straight-sets win over Britain’s Elena Baltacha. Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova also won.
The sixth-seeded Stosur defeated the 68th-ranked Baltacha 6-4, 6-0 on Court Philippe Chatrier on the opening day of Roland Garros.
“It was good,” Stosur said in a news conference. “Obviously very happy with the way I played and the score line and everything else.”
The Australian, who made nine unforced errors and struck 23 winners, last year won her first major singles title when she defeated Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. Stosur today said the high-bouncing centre court at Roland Garros suited her game of heavy top-spin forehand and kick-serve.
“I knew it was going to be a very difficult match, I did play one of the best clay-court players in the world,” Baltacha, who made 17 unforced errors and produced nine winners, told a news conference.
Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion, also won easily. The Russian, a former U.S. Open winner, defeated Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic, 6-1, 6-3.
American wild card Melanie Oudin also moved to the second round by beating Sweden’s Johanna Larsson, 6-3, 6-3. It was Oudin’s first win in the main draw of a major since the 2010 U.S. Open.
Oudin had a breakthrough year in 2009, when she upset three seeded Russian players to reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open when she was only 17 years old. After reaching a career- high ranking of No. 31 in 2010, Oudin has dropped to No. 269.
“I’m doing much better than I have in a while,” Oudin told a news conference.
Venus Williams of the U.S. faces Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea, one of six teenagers in the women’s draw, later today. Williams, ranked 52nd, is playing her first Grand Slam since she pulled out of the U.S. Open last year, announcing she has Sjogren’s syndrome, an energy-sapping autoimmune disease.
Andy Roddick, the last American man to have won a major title, at the 2003 U.S. Open, plays France’s Nicolas Mahut, while 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina meets Spain’s Albert Montanes.
Li Na of China is the defending champion in the women’s draw, while Rafael Nadal of Spain is seeking a men’s record seventh Roland Garros title.