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French Open 2021: Birthday girl Iga Swiatek wins to start title defense

Her best friend on the tennis circuit, Kaja Juvan, was the victim as Swiatek emphatically kicked off her campaign to become the first woman since Justine Henin in 2007 to defend the French Open title.

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Paris Published on: May 31, 2021 18:08 IST
Defending French Open champion Iga Swiatek
Image Source : @WTA

Defending French Open champion Iga Swiatek

Defending French Open champion Iga Swiatek has picked up right where she left off last year in winning the title: running yet another opponent this way and that on the red clay of Roland Garros in a take-no-prisoners straight-sets victory.

Her best friend on the tennis circuit, Kaja Juvan, was the victim on Court Philippe Chatrier on Monday as Swiatek emphatically kicked off her campaign to become the first woman since Justine Henin in 2007 to defend the French Open title.

Playing on her 20th birthday, Swiatek treated herself to a 6-0, 7-5 victory — her eighth straight-sets win in a row at Roland Garros, having also not dropped a set in winning last year as an unseeded 19-year-old.

Later in the day, evergreen 39-year-olds Serena Williams and Roger Federer will be attempting to roll back the years on Day 2 of the French Open, where first-round play is underway on the sun-kissed clay courts.

Williams plays after Federer vs. Istomin, in the last match on Philippe Chatrier, not scheduled to start before 9 p.m. Matches at last year's tournament — held exceptionally in autumn — also stretched late into the night on newly floodlit courts. But scheduled night sessions are a novelty this year at Roland Garros.

Williams. chasing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, plays Irina-Camelia Begu from Romania. Begu's best result in nine previous appearances in Paris was reaching the fourth round in 2016.

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