French Open 2017: Garbine Muguruza beats Francesca Schiavone to reach second round

French Open 2017: Garbine Muguruza beats Francesca Schiavone to reach second round

Returning to the stage of her greatest triumph inspired defending champion Garbine Muguruza to down 2010 victor Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-4 in the first round on Monday.

KEY STATISTIC II: 3 - Women in the field who are past French Open champions (Muguruza, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Francesca Schiavone); neither Serena Williams (pregnant) nor Maria Sharapova (ranking not high enough after doping suspension; denied a wild card) will play in Paris.

It is likely the 36-year-old Italian's final French Open match-Schiavone announced her plan to retire at the end of the season-and the strong start serves as a statement of intent for Muguruza, who compiled a mediocre 3-3 clay-court record this season.

The fourth seed arrives in Paris with three clay-court titles to his name this season - winning both Monte Carlo and Barcelona for a 10th time, while securing a fifth Madrid Masters crown. "I need to play my best".

Then, addressing her guest box, which included her parents and brother, she said: "Thank you for everything you helped me through (in) this hard time".

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Men: Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x11) bt Stephane Robert (FRA) 6-2, 6-3, 6-4; Guillermo Garcia Lopez (ESP) bt Giles Muller (LUXx26) 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-2), 6-2, 6-2. That doesn't make me extra confident this year.

In another match, former world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki defeated Jaimee Fourlis 6-4 3-6 6-2 in the first round.

A battling Schiavone saved four break points to trail 3-2 before a delay while an unwell spectator was treated on a warm day in the French capital.

Kvitova was making her first appearance of 2017 on Sunday, after sustaining career-threatening injuries to her left hand when she was stabbed by an intruder in her apartment last December. The German reached at least the quarterfinals of every Grand Slam she entered between the 1985 and 1996 US Opens except this match against McNeil, who lost in the semifinals. But this match never got on track, as the young talent dominated the Swiss just months after losing to her in straight sets at the Australian Open.

In the women's singles, Muguruza, World No.5, will play against the veteran Schiavone, 13 years older than the Spaniard, and could face French Kristina Mladenovic in the last 16 and Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in the quarterfinals.

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The former England boss was, though, keen after the match to hail the club's "big achievement" in getting out of trouble. And not for its famous manager, whose first year at United would be widely viewed as a failure.

Schiavone is now 36 and announced in January this will be her a year ago on the tour.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands recovered from a set down to beat Australian Ajla Tomljanovic and reach the second round.

Czech Pliskova still struggles with her movement on clay, although she was encouraged by her run to the quarter-finals in Rome.

"I know I played good here before", she said.

Despite her status as reigning champion, though, Muguruza believes she will have to grow into the event again, rather than reflecting on her 2016 triumph. That might not have been totally the case at Roland Garros this year for Kerber, but it wasn't all that surprising that she lost to Makarova, either. "And then I say, 'Wow, I feel like 15-years-old.' I say, 'Oh, come on".

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