For the recap of Day 3 action on the men’s side of the draw, click here.
Day 3 of the 2015 French Open saw a dominant Serena Williams breeze into the second round while Eugenie Bouchard suffered her earliest Grand Slam exit. The World #1 showed little effects of the elbow injury that forced her withdrawal from her last event in Rome, clocking her fastest serve at 195 KMH. Bouchard remains in search of clarity as the defending semifinalist turned in another lackluster performance, leaving her 2015 W-L record at 7-10.
Other happenings on Day 3 of the 2015 French Open:
Francesca Schiavone d. Qiang Wang
Score: 3-6 6-3 6-4
The 2010 French Open champion’s best days are long behind her, and nearing 35, she could be playing her final Roland Garros. Schiavone overcame the loss of the first set to advance to the second round against the world #107. Only five active players have won this tournament, and the Italian now joins the other four (Serena, Sharapova, Ivanovic, and Kuznetsova) in the second round. Her chances of winning again are next to none, but a few more wins might keep her around a little while longer.
(16) Madison Keys d. Varvara Lepchenko
Score: 7-6 6-3
Keys’ eye opening run to the Australian Open semifinals in January announced her arrival as a Major threat. On what is normally her worst surface, she reached the final in Charleston and the quarters in Strasbourg last week before issuing a walkover. That she is starting to string together results on clay is a promising sign for her long-term future. Lepchenko, ranked #35, beat Keys in straight sets in their only prior meeting this year in Brisbane. Today, Keys returned the favor on her way to another round in Paris.
(18)Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Kiki Bertens
Score: 6-1 4-6 6-2
Svetlana Kuznetsova is a popular dark horse at these French Championships. Her notoriously inconsistent play throughout her career has been avoided, for the most part, at Roland Garros. She’s aiming to make her third consecutive quarterfinal, eighth overall, and continue to build on her title run in 2009. That she was able to win against the world #84 and avoid calamity in the face of a favorable draw is a big success for Kuznetsova.
Kristina Mladenovic d. (6) Eugenie Bouchard
Score: 6-4 6-4
The horror season continues for Genie Bouchard after today’s loss at Roland Garros. The #6 seed failed to defend her semifinal points from 2014 and could exit the top 10 by the end of this Parisian fortnight. Down 4-6 0-5, Bouchard managed to win four straight games before Mladenovic, finalist in Strasbourg last week, closed out the match in straight sets. In fairness to Bouchard, her opponent was riding a wave of confidence and is ranked #44; she didn’t lose to a nobody. Regardless, her hyped 8-0 record in Slam first rounds is no more.
Tereza Smitkova d. Taylor Townsend
Score: 6-3 6-4
Townsend cracked the top 100 for the first time this February, but a 3-7 record on the season has dropped her ranking to #130, twice as many spots as Smitkova. Given the discrepancy in ranking and the fact that clay is her least favored surface, a loss here doesn’t qualify as a terrible surprise, but it still represents a stalling of the momentum she gained last year. Townsend, like Venus Williams yesterday, will now look to the grass court season for nourishment.
Sesil Karatantcheva d. Jelena Jankovic (25)
Score: 6-3 6-4
Jankovic struggled with a persistent back injury in 2014 that threatened to derail her career; she saw her ranking plummet from the top 10. Making the final of Indian Wells this year gave hope she had righted the ship. Yet, here we are. Karatantcheva, if you recall, reached the French quarters in 2005, beating Venus Williams along the way. The following year she was hit with a two-year suspension after testing positive for nandrolone. It’s been a long way back for Karatantcheva (currently #106), and today’s win is boon to the rest of her career.
In the Spotlight
(1) Serena Williams d. Andrea Hlavackova
Serena Williams entered the French Open with a few questions lingering about her readiness to claim Slam crown #20: the elbow injury that forced her withdrawal in Rome, and a blitzing at the hands of Petra Kvitova in Madrid. Clay is her least successful surface and the one on which she’s most susceptible to an upset. Thus, today’s match was an important barometer to gauge Williams’ readiness for a deep run in the tournament.
The world #1 answered those questions, racing out to a 3-0 lead in both sets before cruising to a 6-2 6-3 win over the 190th ranked player in the world. Williams’ path to the title gets more difficult in upcoming rounds, where she faces a potential third round against Victoria Azarenka and another meeting with Sloane Stephens in the fourth. On whether her elbow issue still poses a problem, Williams told Jon Wertheim after the match that she avoided going for as many aces (she hit five in the match) because of it but that she still felt fine.
Other winners included: Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, Andrea Petkovic, Irina Falconi, Julia Goerges, Timea Bacsinszky.
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