Samantha Stosur of Australia plays a forehand during her ladies singles first round match against Yanna Wickmayer of Belgium.
Samantha Stosur of Australia plays a forehand during her ladies singles first round match against Yanna Wickmayer of Belgium.

Stosur, Gavrilova save Aussie blushes

SAM Stosur and Daria Gavrilova have spared Australia's French Open blushes, posting much-needed wins at Roland Garros to end a frustrating string of defeats.

Stosur expertly handled Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-2 6-4, adding more lustre to her fine Paris record before Gavrilova staved off Sorana Cirstea 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

The Victorian had lost in the first phase at the French Open for the past two years - and seemed destined for another early exit when trailing by a set and 0-2.

But she regrouped to deny Cirstea in a feisty clash on a court left greasy by steady rain.

Unseeded, US Open champion Stosur has already emerged as a feared floater with the departure of several well-credentialled rivals, including defending champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The Gold Coaster's victory lifted Australian spirits after the departures of Bernard Tomic, Jordan Thompson and Ajla Tomljanovic.

 

Daria Gavrilova of Australia serves during the ladies singles first round match against Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
Daria Gavrilova of Australia serves during the ladies singles first round match against Sorana Cirstea of Romania.

They were joined on the tournament scrapheap tonight by John Millman, James Duckworth and Matt Ebden.

Their departure left only Alex de Minaur as a survivors.

With Nick Kyrgios' withdrawal from the tournament, Australia could repeat its Wimbledon 2017 blowout when none of its men reached the second round.

Millman was beaten 7-5 6-4 6-2 by Canadian talent Denis Shapovalov, the 24th seed.

The Queenslander led the first set 5-2 and the second 3-1 but was overwhelmed by Shapovalov's raw power.

Australia's James Duckworth plays a forehand return to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their men's singles first round match on day three of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 29, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON
Australia's James Duckworth plays a forehand return to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their men's singles first round match on day three of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 29, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON

"I was disappointed with the way I played," Millman said. "Denis is obviously very talented and he went up a level.

"I think I could have played better."

Shapovalov struck 32 winners to Millman's nine in quagmire conditions in a match interrupted by rain.

Contesting his first grand slam since last year's Australian Open, world No 1072 Duckworth was gallant in a 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7-4) loss to US Open champion Marin Cilic.

Ebden was beaten 6-4 5-7 6-2 3-6 6-2 in a rain-delayed match by Italian Thomas Fabbiano.

 

 

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