After pulling out of the French Open, world No 1 Ashleigh Barty admitted that it has been a tearful few days. Her left hip flared up at the weekend, and her movement was so restricted against Magda Linette that she was forced to abandon this second-round match early in the second set.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said an emotional Barty in the interview room. “We have had such a brilliant clay-court season, and to get a little bit unlucky with timing more than anything, to have something acute happen over the weekend and just run out of time against the clock, is disappointing.
“it was a small miracle that we were able to get on court for that first round [which she won on Monday against Bernarda Pera]. Today it was no better and getting worse again. I’ve had my fair share of tears this week. It’s all good. Everything happens for a reason. There will be a silver lining in this eventually. Once I find out what that is, it’ll make me feel a little bit better.”
Linette is a tough competitor, and she exploited Barty’s immobility with ruthless effect, taking the first set by a 6-1 margin. Barty then left the court for a medical time-out, but only played four more games before shoving her racket back into her bag and shaking hands. The withdrawal ended her eight-match winning streak at Roland Garros, where she had won the title in 2019 before sitting out last year’s event because of the pandemic.
“It had nothing to do with [training] loads or anything like that,” said Barty, when asked about her injury. “As far as we can tell, it was literally acute, landing on serve one day, and that’s all. Yeah, it was brutal and tough to accept.
“It’s something that I’ve never experienced before. Even chatting with my physio, it’s not something she has seen regularly either. So we’ve been consulting with people all over the world to try and give us some insight into what the best ways to manage it are. I’m confident we do have a plan. It’s just that we ran out of time here.”
Barty’s withdrawal leaves fifth seed Elina Svitolina – who beat the USA’s Ann Li by a 6-0, 6-4 scoreline – as the highest-ranked player in the top quarter of the draw. It also gives her more than three weeks to rest, recuperate and treat that unhappy hip joint before Wimbledon.
First set: Roger Federer 0-1 Marin Cilic* (*denotes server)
Cilic won the toss and will serve first. The Croatian then holds to love.
Federer vs Cilic
With Norrie looking in control of his match we will turn our attention to the 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer.
The Swiss faces Marin Cilic in the second round.
Djokovic bounces back
Djokovic wins back-to-back games to respond after being broken by Cuevas.
The top seed leads 3-2.
Norrie wins the third set 6-3 to lead Lloyd Harris two sets to one. Hugely impressive stuff. If he completes victory here a match with Rafael Nadal could be on the cards.
The world No 1 enters the fray
A treat for fans on Suzanne Lenglen as Novak Djokovic strides onto court to face Pablo Cuevas in the second round.
Norrie momentum continues
Norrie in full control now. He’s worked out his opponent and taken control of the match.
He breaks to lead 2-1 in the third set.
Ymer serves out the match to overcome Monfils and end hopes of a French winner.
While Norrie also serves out the set against Harris, winning it 6-3. Into a third a set we go.
Ymer and Norrie both serving for the set in their matches
Monfils is at it again
The Frenchman gets one of the breaks back as Ymer gets tight on his serve.
He can’t come back surely?
Monfils in trouble
The end is nigh for Monfils. Ymer is now serving for the match at 5-1 in the fourth set.
Norrie fights back
Good solid tennis from Norrie and careless errors from Harris sees the former break and lead 4-1.
Impressive turnaround from the first set.
Big result for Sloane Stephens as she completes a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Pliskova.
Stephens, a finalist in 2018, will play Muchova next.
Stephens in control
Ninth seed Karolina Pliskova is on the brink of a second round exit. Sloane Stephens leads 7-5, 4-1 on Philippe Chatrier.
Roger Federer will follow that match.
Harris wins first set
A consistent set for Harris is rewarded with the opening set as he serves it out to love.
This won’t be easy for Norrie.
Monfils drops third set
Monfils had led by a break but Ymer fought back to win four games in a row and claim the set 6-4.
Uphill task now for Monfils given he’s not 100 per cent fit
Important hold for Norrie as he serves out to 15 and stay within touching distance of Harris at 5-4.
Needs to break in the next game to stay in the set.
Norrie in a battle
Harris saves a break point to hang onto his serve and lead 4-2 with a break.
Work to do for Norrie.
Last Brit standing
We are going to take a slight detour from watching Monfils to Cameron Norrie, who is the only British player left in the singles draw.
Norrie is playing South Africa’s Lloyd Harris.
45 minutes ago Monfils looked like he couldn’t move and would have to retire.
But he’s now claimed the second set 6-2 in convincing fashion. Ymer had no real idea how to respond to Monfils’ comeback.
Injury? What injury?
Monfils now leads 5-1 as he continues to blast his way around Suzanne Lenglen.
Seemingly a miraculous recovery from the Frenchman.
Completed matches so far today
Men’s Singles – Second Round
Matteo Berrettini (9), Italy, def. Federico Coria, Argentina, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.
Women’s Singles – Second Round
Elena Vesnina, Russia, def. Petra Kvitova (11), Czech Republic, walkover.
Ons Jabeur (25), Tunisia, def. Astra Sharma, Australia, 6-2, 6-4.
Elina Svitolina (5), Ukraine, def. Ann Li, United States, 6-0, 6-4.
Jessica Pegula (28), United States, def. Tereza Martincova, Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-3.
Sofia Kenin (4), United States, def. Hailey Baptiste, United States, 7-5, 6-3.
Karolina Muchova (18), Czech Republic, def. Varvara Lepchenko, United States, 6-3, 6-4.
Marta Kostyuk, Ukraine, def. Zheng Saisai, China, 6-3, 6-4.
Magda Linette, Poland, def. Ashleigh Barty (1), Australia, 6-1, 2-2, ret.
Monfils battles on
Whatever the physio did during the break has worked because Monfils is a different player.
He’s broken Ymer and is swinging freely although the speed on his serve has dropped.
The Frenchman leads 2-1.
Monfils does return to court and wins the opening point to the delight of the French fans.
But will it be a short-lived reprieve?
More injury woe
Hometown hero Gael Monfils has struggled with form and confidence over the past 12 months.
And it seems injury is about to end his Roland Garros dreams for another year.
Monfils has lost the first set to Mikael Ymer 6-0 and left the court for a medical timeout after barely being able to move.
We await to see whether he can continue.
Just as I join you, we’ve had our first major upset of the day and 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty is out.
She had been struggling with injury coming into the tournament and needed treatment on Tuesday to get through her first round match.
But against Magda Linette, the world No 1 lost the first set 6-1 and once again required treatment. However, after just four games Barty put down her racket and retired from the match.
Hello and welcome to coverage from day five of the French Open.
Today has all the makings of being a blockbuster day with the ‘Big Three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to come and the last Brit standing Cameron Norrie on the due on court.
It has been a dramatic few days in Paris with Naomi Osaka’s shock withdrawal from the event. A number of other seeds have tumbled out of the draw but yesterday world No 2 Daniil Medvedev fought back from a set down to beat unseeded American Tommy Paul and advance to the third round, his best showing at Roland Garros after being knocked out in the first round of the tournament in the four previous years.
Meanwhile, seventh seed Serena Williams was pushed the distance but beat Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 to move into the third round.
Speaking on Eurosport, 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert felt Williams is playing herself into form.
She said: “One thing you can still say about Serena is that she always steps it up a level on the big points. She hasn’t forgotten about the ebbs and flows of a match, when she has to turn it on, when she needs to focus a little more. Buzarnescu lost a lot of break points, the big points, because Serena just came on top and she hasn’t lost that instinct to play well when there is danger.
“Serena is coming back pretty quickly – before this tournament she only had three matches. She’s looking better and better, moving smoother on the clay, and she’s being patient.
“In the next match against Danielle Collins, look for fireworks because this is a feisty young player. Danielle has come on strong, she hits the ball hard and flat and you will feel her presence on court. It will match Serena Williams – they are both strong-minded and we could have a clash of the titans in that match. I’m really looking forward to it.”