French Open, Day 1: Defending champ Ostapenko knocked out

Defending champion Ostapenko was knocked out in the first round! Dimitrov and Monfils began their campaign strongly even as there was confusion over lucky losers with multiple last-minute pullouts. A round-up of all the action on court and off it.

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria plays a forehand during his first round men's singles match against Mohamed Safwat of Egypt on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran was supposed to be the lucky loser playing Bernard Tomic in the first round after Nick Kyrgios pulled out, but he had already left Paris to play a Challenger tournament in Italy and missed out his chance to feature in the main draw for the first time. Dimitrov was supposed to face Viktor Troicky in his first-round match before a last-minute pullout gave another lucky loser a chance to make it to the main draw.

READ: Order of Play for Monday

It is just Day 1 of the French Open and we are already witness to some entertaining and amusing action on the court and off it. Follow this blog to keep track of the winners and losers and all the off-field action.

Before we start, why not find out makes Rafael Nadal such a dominant clay-court player? Read here

A quick look at the important matches of Day 1:
Men's:
Court Philippe-Chatrier

Mohamed Safwat (EGY) vs Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [4]

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) [5] vs Kateryna Kozlova (UKR)

 

Court Suzanne-Lenglen

Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) vs Elina Svitolina (UKR) [4]

Qiang WANG (CHN) vs Venus Williams (USA) [9]

Ricardas BERANKIS (LTU) vs Alexander Zverev (GER) [2]

Court 1

Kei NISHIKORI (JPN) [19] vs Maxime JANVIER (FRA)

Johanna KONTA (GBR) [22] vs Yulia PUTINTSEVA (KAZ)

 

 

DEFENDING CHAMP KNOCKED OUT

Jelena Ostapenko became the first defending champion to be knocked out in the first round of the French Open since 2005. She lost to Kateryna Kozlova 7-5, 6-3. Anastasia Myskina, who was the first Russian to win a Grand Slam in 2004, lost her first-round match the next year. Report

 

Venus Williams of the U.S. leaves the court after losing to China's Qiang Wang at the Roland Garros Stadium on Sunday.   -  AP

 

WANG UPSETS VENUS WILLIAMS 

In the first major upset of the day, Venus Williams, seeded ninth, lost her first-round match 6-4, 7-5 to China's Qiang Wang.  A quick fact: Wang lost to Venus Williams in the first round at the Roland Garros last year!  Match Report

 

ZVEREV IN FINE TOUCH

Alexander Zverev won his opening match 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 against Ricardas Berankis.  After that brilliant final against Rafael Nadal in Rome and subsequent high praise from the King of Clay, Zverev is certainly high on confidence and it showed in the match against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis. He demolished his opponent in just 69 minutes.  Report

DIMITROV OFF TO STRONG START

 

Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov got his Roland Garros campaign off to a good start, powering past lucky loser Mohamed Safwat 6-1 6-4 7-6(1) in the opening match on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Safwat became the first Egyptian player to contest a grand slam main draw since 1996 after Bulgarian Dimitrov's original opponent Viktor Troicki pulled out with lower back pain.

GOFFIN SURVIVES FIVE-SET MARATHON

David Goffin rallied from two sets down to defeat Robin Haase 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 in an opening round match at Court 1.

SVITOLINA GETS PAST TOMLJANOVIC IN OPENER

Elina Svitolina began her quest for a maiden grand slam with a battling first round victory over Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. The fourth-seeded Ukrainian prevailed 7-5 6-3. More

SLOANE STEPHENS DEMOLISHES RUS

Sloane Stephens enjoyed her first Grand Slam win as the reigning U.S. Open champion by demolishing Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-2 6-0 in the first round of the French Open on Sunday.

The American 10th seed's first major as a Grand Slam winner lasted only three sets after she was beaten in the first-round of the Australian Open.

KONTA LOSES

Great Britain's Johanna Konta is headed home early. She lost to Kazakhstan's Yulina Putintseva 6-4, 6-3 in a first-round match lasting an hour and 24 minutes

Kyrgios pulls out, confusion prevails over replacement

Australia's Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the tournament with an elbow injury. “Unfortunately I have to withdraw from this year's French Open,” the world number 23 said.

“Having consulted with my team and medical experts it is deemed too risky for me to step out and potentially play five sets on clay especially as I have not played a singles match in nearly two months.”

 

Prajnesh Gunneswaran made the main draw of the French Open on Sunday after Nick Kyrgios pulled put due to an elbow injury. However, the Indian was forced to miss his debut Grand Slam main draw appearance due to a contractual obligation.  READ here

Now, which lucky loser will play Bernard Tomic in the first round? Three of them are already in Vicenza, Italy to play a Challenger tournament.

Apparently, there is a loophole that may just help Prajnesh Gunneswaran to get back to Paris, as freelance writer Ben Rothenberg helpingly tweets:

 

It's a race day not just in Monaco!

With just one lucky loser signing and playing against Dimitrov today, whichever lucky loser comes in and signs the form will get play Bernard Tomic tomorrow.  Marco Trungelliti is next in line after Prajnesh Gunneswaran and we have just seen a tweet of him driving from Barcelona to Paris to sign up as the lucky loser!

 

 

MONFILS THROUGH TO NEXT ROUND

France's Gael Monfils started shakily against compatriot Elliot Benchetrit but found his rhythm as the match wore on to comfortably quell the 19-year-old's challenge. Monfils prevailed 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-1.

 

DZUMHUR MAKES SHORT WORK OF AMERICAN KUDLA

Bosnian Damir Dzumhur swatted aside American Denis Kudla, winning 6-4 6-2 6-2 to storm into the second round.

IVO KARLOVIC LOSES

Corentin Moutet demolished 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 in the first round.

NISHIKORI IN FINE FORM

Japan's Kei Nishikori, playing in his first Grand S'am since last year's Wimbledon, showed no signs of a wrist injury that has plagued him in the past few months as he eased past Frenchman Maxime Janvier 7-6(0) 6-4 6-3.