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Halep, Azarenka off to hot starts, Kontaveit goes down to Garcia

The conditions at Roland-Garros came close to halting play on Sunday afternoon, but they did not stop Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka from advancing.

Caroline Garcia, Roland-Garros 2020, September 27 Caroline Garcia, Roland-Garros 2020, September 27

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The results we expected

No 1 seed Simona Halep kicked off her 2020 French Open campaign with a convincing 6-4, 6-0 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo. Halep, who captured the Rome title on Monday, needed just one hour and 22 minutes to get her Paris fortnight started on the right foot.

The Romanian is joined in round two by another serious title contender, US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka. Although she was no fan of the rainy and cold conditions that will likely be on display from start to finish at this autumnal European-based major, Azarenka scored a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Danka Kovinic. The No 10 seed prevailed in a mere one hour and one minute.

Only the elements caused Azarenka any problems.

No 16 Elise Mertens, a semi-finalist at the Cincinnati event a quarter-finalist at the US Open, took care of Marta Gasparyan 6-2, 6-3. No 20 Maria Sakkari ousted Ajla Tomljanovic 6-0, 7-5. Also advancing was No 27 Ekaterina Alexandrova, who defeated Maddison Inglis 6-3, 6-3. No 32 Barbora Strycova beat qualifier Varvara Lepchenko 7-5, 6-2. No 23 Yulia Putintseva punted Kirsten Flipkens out of Paris by rolling 6-1, 6-2.

The surprises of the day

No 17 Anett Kontaveit vs. Carolina Garcia was a brutal first-round matchup on paper for both players. It lived up to the hype on the court, too, resulting in a three-set battle that lasted two hours and five minutes. In the end, however, it was the unseeded Garcia who recovered from a break down in the final frame of play to pull off a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 upset.

Coco Gauff was up to her usual Grand Slam tricks, as she ousted No 9 seed and 2019 semi-finalist Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-3.

Daria Gavrilova, who used a protected ranking to get into the tournament, knocked off No 24 Dayana Yastremska 6-3, 6-3.

There is already one qualifier and one lucky loser through to the second round. Qualifier Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia upended US Open quarter-finalist Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-3. Lucky loser Astra Sharma, ranked 132nd, outlasted world No 65 Anna Blinkova 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

The hard-fought battles of the day

In one of the more intriguing all-unseeded matchups, Kaia Kanepi battled past Marie Bouzkova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 after two hours and 14 minutes.

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