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Sunday, 27 May 2018 21:56 PM BST
Roland-Garros Day 1: Big names fall at first hurdle rounds up the action from Day 1 at Roland-Garros 2018. READ MORE

Ostapenko's off-day

Day 1 of Roland-Garros was a scorcher: both on and off the court.

As temperatures soared as high as 29 degrees Celsius on the main Court Philippe Chatrier in Paris, Jelena Ostapenko’s reign as champion came to a crashing halt against the 66th-ranked Kateryna Kozlova, 7-5, 6-3.

“I think it was terrible day at the office today for me,” Ostapenko told reporters, after losing her crown on her 48th unforced error.

“In general I played maybe like 20% of what I can play. Made like 50 unforced errors and so many double faults. Like couldn't serve today. Everything together just brought me really bad result.”

A complete unknown last year, the then unseeded Ostapenko lit up Roland-Garros as she defeated title favourite Simona Halep of Romania in the final, thumping winners that drew gasps from the crowd as she fought back from a set and a break down to clinch her first Grand Slam title.

Only three women in history have successfully defended their maiden Grand Slam crown at Roland-Garros: Steffi Graf, Chris Evert and Monica Seles. 

This year, the pressure was on for the 20-year-old Ostapenko.

“In the beginning it was okay, but then it just got worse, I felt that I'm not myself today on the court,” said Ostapenko, who hit 13 double faults.

“I was just trying to manage and fight until the last point, but she was playing very defensive, and I was just making so many unforced errors, which I normally don't do.”

Venus’s historic low

After reaching two Grand Slam finals and one semi-final in 2017, Venus Williams' 2018 has been a struggle in comparison.

Her defeat in the first round of Roland-Garros - to China's Qiang Wang, world No.91 - meant she has now lost in successive Grand Slam opening rounds for the first time in her career, having been beaten at the first hurdle of this year's Australian Open.

But unlike the brutally honest Ostapenko, Williams failed to provide an explanation, telling reporters “nobody plans on this."

But on the plus side, she’ll be coming back to Roland-Garros to play doubles with her sister Serena for the first time since they won the 2016 Wimbledon title.

“We haven't played in forever,” Venus said. “So I'm hoping that we'll get out there and kind of just start where we left off.”

Lucky loser

On Saturday, world No.182 Mohamed Safwat thought he was headed home, having lost in the final round of qualifying the previous day.

On Sunday, he became the first Egyptian since 1996 to contest a Grand Slam main draw match when he replaced the injured Viktor Troicki of Serbia.

Safwat, who travels without a coach, had been unaware he was close to making the main draw until he received a text from an Egyptian journalist late on Saturday afternoon.

Less than 24 hours later, Safwat found himself walking onto the main Court Philippe Chatrier for the first time in his life, opening the tournament against the No.4 seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

“I always was dreaming to play on center court with such a crowd,” Safwat said in a news conference after losing in straight sets. “It's something I always saw it on TV, but I never had the experience to see. So it was really, really enjoyable for me.”

Quote of the day

“I'm going to be careful. I won't go to a discotheque until 6:00 a.m.; I will go home at 4:00 a.m.”

French wild card Corentin Moutet, the youngest man in the draw at 19, joking with reporters about his preparation for the second round after beating 39-year-old Croat Ivo Karlovic - the oldest man in the draw - in straight sets in his first ever Roland-Garros main draw match.

Lucky escape for Svitolina

One of the favourites for the Roland-Garros title following the successful defense of her Rome title the week before, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina looked on the way to a quick exit shortly after 11am in the morning as the two-time quarter-finalist trailed the unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic 5-1 on the Court Suzanne Lenglen.

But after the Australian blew a set point with a double fault, Svitolina’s game finally clicked into gear and she moved to the second round with a 7-5, 6-3 win.

Elsewhere, Johanna Konta's wait for a main draw singles win at Roland-Garros went on, with the British No.1 falling 6-4, 6-3 to Kazahkstan's Yulia Putintseva.

Making 32 unforced errors to just 22 winners, Konta admitted she "never really found her rhythm," and will now turn her attentions to the grass court season, having reached the Wimbledon semi-finals last year.

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