FRENCH OPEN ’18: Defending champ Ostapenko in action Day 1
A quick look at the French Open:
The 15-day tournament begins Sunday. The women’s singles final is Saturday, June 9; the men’s singles final is Sunday, June 10.
LOOKAHEAD TO SUNDAY
Jelena Ostapenko will not only be starting the defense of her first Grand Slam title when she steps on Court Philippe Chatrier to face Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine – she’ll be starting the defense of her very first tour title of any sort. She was the first unseeded player in the 50-year Open era to win the women’s trophy at Roland Garros. ”I had to get used to this new status that I’m a Grand Slam champion,” Ostapenko said. ”People just expect more from you, and there is more attention from everybody. And also, from (other) players’ side, like, every player you play wants to beat you.” Other Grand Slam champions on the schedule include Venus Williams against Qiang Wang of China, and Sloane Stephens against Arantxa Rus of Netherlands. No. 2 Alexander Zverev, No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 19 Kei Nishikori are among the seeded men who are scheduled to play on Day 1 at the year’s second major tournament.
Cloudy; chance of rain. High of 82 degrees (28 Celsius).
2017 MEN’S SINGLES CHAMPION
Rafael Nadal of Spain.
2017 WOMEN’S SINGLES CHAMPION
Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
Nadal beat 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in the final for his record-extending 10th championship at Roland Garros. Ostapenko earned the first tour-level title of her career by coming back to defeat Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
79-2 – Nadal’s career record in the French Open. The two losses came against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009, and against Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015.
BACK IN THE FIELD
Serena Williams, owner of three French Open titles and 23 major singles trophies overall, returns to Grand Slam action for the first time since winning the 2017 Australian Open – and first time since giving birth to a daughter last September. Also back: two-time champion Maria Sharapova, in the draw for the first time since 2015, after missing 2016 because of a doping suspension and 2017 because the tournament denied her a wild-card entry; and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who missed the tournament last year after giving birth to a son.
MISSING FROM THE FIELD
Roger Federer is sitting out the French Open for the third consecutive year; he was injured in 2016, then decided to skip the clay-court circuit in 2017 and 2018 to rest and prepare for the grass and hard courts. Also out: Andy Murray, who had hip surgery and is hoping to be back at Wimbledon. Other players who won’t be in the draws include 2015 and 2017 French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky (injured right calf), 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska (back), 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics gold medalist Monica Puig (hip) and CiCi Bellis of the U.S. (right elbow). And in doubles, the Bryan twins’ record streak of 76 consecutive Grand Slam appearances ends, because Bob pulled out with an injured hip. His brother, Mike, will play doubles with Sam Querrey.
Total prize money is nearly 40 million euros (nearly $47 million). The men’s and women’s singles champions each receive 2.2 million euros (about $2.5 million).
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