'What's going on': Tennis world in disbelief over French Open chaos

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Garbine Muguruza and Bianca Andreescu, pictured here in action at the French Open.
Garbine Muguruza and Bianca Andreescu crashed out of the French Open in the first round. Image: Getty

The French Open was rocked by chaos on Monday as four grand slam champions exited the women's draw in the opening round.

Naomi Osaka's shock withdrawal was the major talking point, but on the court there was plenty of drama as well.

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Fellow grand slam champions Bianca Andreescu, Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko all tumbled out of the clay-court grand slam at the first hurdle.

Muguruza, who beat Serena Williams to win the French Open title in 2016, was outplayed 6-1 6-4 by Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk.

The 12th seed racked up a whopping 40 unforced errors as she suffered her earliest defeat at Roland Garros ever.

It was a poor day for former women's grand slam champions, with Andreescu becoming the highest women's seed to fall at the French Open so far - losing a three-hour marathon against Tamara Zidansek.

The sixth seed and 2019 US Open champion went down 6-7(1) 7-6(2) 9-7 to the Slovenian.

The 20-year-old Canadian served for the match at 5-4 in the deciding set, but Zidansek broke back before missing a match point of her own in a gripping finale.

Andreescu found herself in trouble again serving at 7-8 and this time was unable to dig her way out of trouble with World No.85 Zidansek winning in three hours and 20 minutes.

While on paper it was a shock, Andreescu was playing at only her third Tour-level clay-court tournament and her lack of matches on the surface ultimately proved decisive.

Her build-up was hardly helped by having to pull out of the Madrid and Rome tournaments after testing positive for COVID-19.

"I think I prepared super, super well for this tournament. That's why to me it's very disappointing, because I thought I could go far," Andreescu, who has struggled with injuries since wining the 2019 US Open, told reporters.

"It sucks right now for me and I can just right now learn from it, because that's what life's all about.

"Hopefully the hard work that I did put in today and over the past couple of weeks will really show for the grass, for the hardcourt season."

Jelena Ostapenko, pictured here in action against Sofia Kenin at the French Open.
Jelena Ostapenko in action against Sofia Kenin at the French Open. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Tennis world in disbelief over French Open carnage

And Jelena Ostapenko, who blasted her way to the French Open title in 2017, also crashed out after losing 6-4 4-6 6-3 to last year's runner-up Sofia Kenin.

It means six female grand slam champions are out after the first round following Osaka's withdrawal and losses for Svetlana Kuznetsova and Angelique Kerber on Sunday.

The women's draw lost another big name when 2016 French Open semi-finalist Kiki Bertens fell at the first hurdle, losing 6-1 3-6 6-4 to another Slovenian - Polona Hercog.

Marketa Vondrousova, the 2019 runner-up who is seeded 20th this year, managed to avoid an early exit of her own, battling back from a set down to beat Kaia Kanepi 4-6 6-3 6-0.

And Serena Williams also avoided the chaos, saving two set points before going on to beat Irina-Camelia Begu 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 under lights in the first scheduled night session in French Open history.

The 39-year-old squandered a 5-2 lead in the first set against her tricky Romanian opponent, who battled back to move into a tiebreaker.

Begu then led 6-4 and Williams got lucky with a return that clipped the tape, before rattling off four points to win the opener with a drive volley - producing a roar that echoed around the empty stands.

The seventh-seeded Williams struggled with her first serve at times but moved well and played aggressively, improving to 77-1 in first-round slam matches.

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