French Open 2022: Fourth seed Sakkari admits to stress in opening win over Burel

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari admitted she suffered a small bout of nerves in her first round 6-2, 6-3 win over Clara Burel, while Leylah Fernandez learned first-hand how loud the crowd can be when she triumphed over local hope Kristina Mladenovic at the French Open on Sunday

Greece's Maria Sakkari in action.   -  AP

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari admitted she suffered a small bout of nerves in her first round 6-2, 6-3 win over Clara Burel at the French Open on Sunday but promised to improve so her parents will get to see her in the later stages of the tournament.

Last year's semi-finalist was never troubled by the 21-year-old French player but said she would need to cut down on her mistakes after making 29 unforced errors.

"I want to do well here. People want to come see me play," Sakkari told a news conference. "My parents want to come here later in the tournament so I want to be here for as long as possible."

"It's always tough to play against a local. I think I handled my stress, handled the stress of the first round, extremely well. My tennis was not 10 out of 10 but I am happy."

The 26-year-old's power was too much for Burel, who struggled with her serve and made five double faults in the first set alone, including one on set point.

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"You cannot expect to play a perfect match when it's a first round of a Grand Slam. A lot of things won't go as you have planned or practised," she said.

"Obviously my baseline game has to just improve and maybe reduce the unforced errors," Sakkari said.

Burel improved in the second, breaking early and forcing Sakkari, who will move up to third in the world when the rankings are published on Monday, into a string of errors.

Sakkari, however, remained composed to go 4-3 up and break Burel again when the world number 94 double-faulted.

She then held serve to set up a second-round match against Czech Karolina Muchova when Burel sent a forehand long on Sakkari's first match point.

Fernandez happy to overcome 'football match' crowd in win over Mladenovic

Leylah Fernandez learned first-hand how loud the crowd at Roland Garros can be when she triumphed over local hope Kristina Mladenovic in the French Open first round on Sunday.

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Last year's U.S. Open finalist dominated Mladenovic in a 6-0, 7-5 clash, despite the noisy support of the Parisian public for their favourite.

"Honestly it was very difficult but I'm very happy that I was able to play against such a crowd, because I always had the dream of having a crowd against myself," Canadian Fernandez told a news conference.

"Having that experience of the French crowd that was chanting, shouting, it was a great experience, like a football match.

"I just tried to think about my game and to have fun on the court because it's not every day you have such an atmosphere. I'm very happy to have lived such a match."

The 19-year-old will face four-time Grand Slam doubles champion Katerina Siniakova in the second round on Wednesday.

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