World number one Simona Halep began her bid for a first Grand Slam title with a gutsy fightback in her rain-delayed French Open first-round match.
Halep, last year’s runner-up, lost the first set before recovering to win 2-6 6-1 6-1 against American Alison Riske.
Australian Open champion and second seed Caroline Wozniacki cruised into the third round with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Spain’s Georgina Garcia Perez.
Fourth seed Elina Svitolina and eighth seed Petra Kvitova also went through.
Ukraine’s Svitolina reached the last 32 with a 6-3 6-4 success over Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova while Czech star Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, beat Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena 6-0 6-4.
Serena Williams, meanwhile, wore her ‘Black Panther’ catsuit again as she teamed up with sister Venus to beat Japan’s Shuko Aoyama and Miyu Kato 4-6 6-4 6-1 in the women’s doubles first round.
The 36-year-old American first wore the outfit, inspired by the Black Panther movie blockbuster, during her opening singles win on Tuesday.
Two-time French Open finalist Halep has spent much of the past seven months as the world’s leading female player, despite never transferring her consistency on tour into lifting one of tennis’ most prestigious prizes.
Halep lost to unseeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in the Roland Garros final last year, one of six defeats in a showpiece over the past year.
But reaching a second final in Paris looked a long way off as she made a woeful start in a match which originally supposed to be played on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Romanian hit 16 unforced errors in a opening set, but then won nine of the next 10 games to take control.
Riske, who is Johanna Konta’s doubles partner, stemmed the tide by claiming the fourth game of the final set, but only managed to win another 12 points in a final set which Halep won in 28 minutes.
Halep put her sluggish start down to pre-match nerves, which she said were not caused by the extra pressure of finally landing her first major prize.
“I didn’t feel the pressure, because I know that every match is tough at this tournament, so I don’t expect anything,” she said.
“I think the nerves are really good. It means that you care about what you are doing and your desire is really big.”
Halep will face Riske’s compatriot Taylor Townsend in the second round.
London to host FIFA Football Awards once again
London will host the 2018 FIFA Football Awards for the
second straight year, on September 24, the global governing body said on
“As a passionate football city in a nation with a strong footballing
heritage, London will once again prove to be an excellent destination
to host The Best FIFA Football Awards, and we are excited to return
after the success of last year’s second edition,” FIFA deputy
secretary general Zvonimir Boban said in a statement.
“With the 2018 FIFA World Cup showcasing football’s finest across
Russia this summer, there is everything to play for, making this
year’s awards a truly exceptional occasion.”
Nine awards, including best men’s and women’s player and the Puskas
award for the goal of the year, will be presented using a mixed
voting system including players, coaches, fans and media.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has won the men’s best player
award for the last two years with the women’s version going to Lieke
Martens of the Netherlands in 2017.