/ Tennis

Caroline Wozniacki and Li Na knocked out in the first round of French Open

Updated: Tuesday, 27 May 2014 22:46 | Comments

Caroline Wozniacki returns a shot during her French Open match against Yanina Wickmayer Li Na stretches to return a shot against Kristina Mladenovic during their first-round French Open match
Caroline Wozniacki returns a shot during her French Open match against Yanina Wickmayer Li Na stretches to return a shot against Kristina Mladenovic during their first-round French Open match

Caroline Wozniacki's return to tennis and the public eye after her breakup with golfer Rory McIlroy ended in more pain on Tuesday when the 13th seed was knocked out in the French Open first round by Yanina Wickmayer.             

The Belgian won a high-quality baseline battle 7-6(5) 4-6 6-2, condemning Wozniacki to her first opening-round defeat at Roland Garros since her debut in 2007.             

The players swapped serve breaks in the first set, and the advantage swung one way and then the other in the tiebreak before the Belgian ended a superb rally with a backhand crosscourt winner.

ALL RESULTS

Wozniacki, 23, wasted five break points in the sixth game of the second set but remained alive with the score at 5-4 when Wickmayer, serving to stay in the set, netted a simple forehand to bring the Dane level.            

But Wickmayer, going for her shots, bounced back immediately by breaking Wozniacki in the first game of the final set and again in the fifth.             

The Dane broke back thanks to a lucky net cord and a fine drop shot, but Wickmayer, ranked 64th in the world, was now clearly on top and sealed the victory on her first match point after Wozniacki netted.             

McIlroy, like Wozniacki a former world No.1 in his sport, said he called off their engagement after getting cold feet while sorting out their wedding invitations.             

The Northern Irishman told the world of his pain at the breakup on the eve of last week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, but he went on to win the European Tour's flagship event.   

Li Na, the Australian Open champion, followed Wozniacki out of the French Open in the first round when she lost 7-5 3-6 6-1 to local favourite Kristina Mladenovic.

"It's incredible, without you I couldn't have done it" 

The second seed from China, who won at Roland Garros in 2011, never hit her stride on court Suzanne Lenglen on another chilly day in Paris.

Once dubbed the next big thing of French women's tennis, Mladenovic saved two set points in the opener, lost focus in the second but stepped up a gear again in the decider to wrap it up on her second match point.

"It's incredible, without you I couldn't have done it," a weeping Mladenovic told the cheering crowd.

Simona Halep, seeded fourth, narrowly missed inflicting the first "double bagel" of the tournament after serving for the match when leading Alisa Kleybanova of Russia 6-0 5-0.

But the Romanian lost concentration and gave up two games before winning on her first match point. The diminutive Halep won the juniors' title at Roland Garros in 2008, and her power and accuracy from the baseline will trouble all but the best here.

She was the most improved player on the women's tour in 2013 after winning six WTA titles, and she carried her form into the new year, reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm, the older stateswoman of the WTA Tour at 43, saved four match points but still went down 6-3 0-6 6-2 to 24th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the Russian 27th seed and 2009 French Open champion, eased through 6-3 6-1 against Georgia's Sofia Shapatava. Romanian 26th seed Sorana Cirstea beat Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 6-7(3) 7-5 6-2.   

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