Sport DIRECT. Roland Garros: Halep and Azarenka pass, Garcia battles but comes out
Azarenka crushes Kenin in Rome, as Muguruza sees off Gauff
It was a day to forget at the Internazionali d'Italia for Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, as she lost without winning a game.Azarenka, beaten in the US Open final less than a week ago, has transitioned to the clay courts in impressive fashion after beating Venus Williams and now, more impressively, Kenin.
Roland-Garros started this morning at 11am. Many meetings are on the program today with several French people and a few headliners and curiosities. Track the results of the day.
That's it,2020 is finally starting. The Parisian Grand Slam takes place exceptionally in autumn, the fault of the Covid-19 epidemic. The rain disrupted the start of the fortnight, but matches are now going smoothly.
Four months after its usual spring programming date, Roland-Garros launched on Sunday, roof closed, its exceptionally autumnal 2020 edition, between restrictions linked to Covid-19 and cold and gloomy weather.
Muguruza overcomes Azarenka to set up Halep semi-final in Rome
Simona Halep was on court for just 47 minutes on Saturday so will be feeling fresh when she faces Garbine Muguruza in the Rome semi-finals.Muguruza beat her fellow former world number one 3-6 6-3 6-4 after two hours and 19 minutes, having been one point away from falling 5-3 down in an entertaining decider at Foro Italico.
The open entry roof
From the first exchanges, Roland-Garros had recourse to the brand new roof that covers its Central: eleven wings with a steel structure, dressed in a clear canvas, deployed on Sunday morning to ward off rainy, windy and chilly weather conditions.
The first to benefit are the Belgian David Goffin, world No. 12, and the promising Italian Jannick Sinner. He who, at 19, took the very first steps of his young career at Roland Garros, quickly felt comfortable there: he offered himself Goffin in three sets (7-5, 6-0, 6 -3) and not even two hours.
Under the eyes of only a hundred spectators. Because caught up with the reality of the Covid-19, the Parisian Grand Slam has seen its gauge shrink since early September, first to 11,500 maximum, then 5,000, and finally 1,000 spectators per day.
A 98 per cent win record, three faultless triumphs - Rafael Nadal's French Open dominance in numbers
As he sets his sights on title number 13, we look at the statistics around Rafael Nadal's Roland Garros dominance.Nadal is Roland Garros' Goliath, the aura he brings to the tennis court ratchets up when he enters the pristine surroundings on Paris' western side.
Roland-Garros is no longer the last of the four Grand Slam tournaments to be completely dependent on the vagaries of the weather. This is timely, since the Paris fortnight, exceptionally rescheduled in the fall due to the pandemic, promises to be particularly gloomy and wet.
This inaugural Sunday already, we covered ourselves with towels from head to toe to keep warm as best we could.Azarenka is bubbling
"Is that a joke? Can't you see what's going on? What are we doing here? It's getting a little ridiculous."
Not safe from the drops on the Suzanne-Lenglen court, Victoria Azarenka, black leggings under her pink shorts and colorful tracksuit jacket, did not appreciate her first round against Montenegrin Danka Kovinic, started by room temperature of 11 degrees. So much so that after only three games the recent US Open finalist pushed the referee to suspend the game.
"You can't hold your racquet because it's too wet," complained the Belarusian. "I'm not going to wait here (on his chair, editor's note). It's too cold," Azarenka said annoyed when it was a question of waiting on the court while the downpour passed.
French Open 2020: Halep lands birthday win in chilly Paris
Simona Halep marked her 29th birthday with a first-round win at the French Open, where the top seed began slowly in chilly conditions.Under the new roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier and on her 29th birthday, title favourite Halep stumbled through the opening stages before pulling away to beat Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4 6-0.
Back on the field after a thirty-minute break, the former world No. 1 was quick: she won 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour.Halep, it's a gift
There is at least one who has found a pleasant side to play on this Sunday more than autumn: it is Simona Halep, who celebrated her 29th birthday on September 27th.
"It's a bit cold but it's a unique moment to play at Roland Garros on my birthday", smiled the Romanian, world No.2 but title contender, in two weeks.
Under the roof of the Central, Halep inflicted ten consecutive games on the Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo (70th) by taking the initiative. What to compensate for its sluggish start in heavy conditions, slowed down by the cold and humidity, and to win 6-4, 6-0 in less than an hour and a half.
On the French side, it happened for the qualified Benjamin Bonzi (224th), winner of the Finnish Emil Ruusuvuori (92nd) in four sets (6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4) and who will challenge Sinner. But not for Eliott Benchetrit (215th), beneficiary of a wild card, to which the great American server John Isner left no chance (6-1, 6-1, 6-3).
At the end of the day, the shock of the first round was to oppose two triple Grand Slam winners, the Scots Andy Murray and the Swiss Stan Wawrinka.
The entry into the running of Rafael Nadal is expected on Monday. The Spaniard is aiming for a thirteenth trophy at Roland Garros - unprecedented in a single Grand Slam tournament - which would allow him to equal the record of twenty major crowns set by Roger Federer. As for his great rival Novak Djokovic, he will start on Tuesday.
French Open 2020 live stream: how to watch Roland-Garros tennis for free .
Watch all the action at Roland-Garros without paying a dimeTennis fans in the UK and Ireland can watch the 2020 French Open free. All the action will be shown live on ITV4 and live streamed on the ITV Hub. It's also available on Eurosport in 4K HDR. Not in the UK at the time of the tennis? Don't forget you can use a VPN to access the French Open if you're travelling outside the UK.