Ninth seed Elina Svitolina knocked seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams out of the French Open on Sunday with a comfortable first-round victory.

The Ukrainian, twice a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros, eased to a 6-3, 6-3 win on the new Court Simonne Mathieu over the 38-year-old American who made her debut at the tournament in 1997. Svitolina will face compatriot Kateryna Kozlova for a place in the third round.

Kerber stunned

German fifth seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber was knocked out of Roland Garros in the first round on Sunday by Russian world number 81 Anastasia Potapova.

Kerber, bidding to complete a career Grand Slam, slumped to a 6-4, 6-2 defeat to the 18-year-old who was making her Paris debut.

Kerber had come into Roland Garros carrying a right ankle injury which forced her to pull out of the Italian Open and retire from her second round tie in Madrid.

“I had a lot of confidence and I have to thank my coach for that,” said Potapova who hit 28 winners past her German opponent who has now lost six times in the French Open first round.

The Russian’s first win over a top 10 player gives her a second round clash against either China’s Wang Yafan or Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.

Pliskova eases through

Second seed Karolina Pliskova reached the Roland Garros second round on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Madison Brengle of the United States.

Pliskova, a semi-finalist in 2017, will face Slovakian qualifier Kristina Kucova, who knocked out former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, for a place in the third round.

Stephens, Muguruza made to fight

American seventh seed Sloane Stephens was made to hustle in her opening round match on Sunday. The 26-year-old, who finished runner-up last year at Roland Garros, won the first set comfortably but was taken to a tie-breaker in the second. She eventually won 6-3, 7-6 [7/4] against Japan’s Misaki Doi.

Winner of the French Open women’s singles title in 2016, Garbine Muguruza was taken all the way in her first round match. The 19th seed lost the first set to Britain’s Taylor Townsend but dug deep to stage a comeback. The 25-year-old won the match 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 and will now face Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.

[Inputs from AFP]