Top seed Ash Barty played and won with a hip injury as the 2019 champion willed her way into the second round of the French Open on Tuesday 6-4, 3-6. 6-2 over Bernarda Pera.

Paris, Roland Garros, French Open Day 3 01/06/2021 BERNADA PERA (USA) first round match Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

The Australian world No. 1 revealed she has been suffering with her problems since the weekend but would not be using it as an excuse as she continues her fight through the draw.

“I’m not going to hide behind the fact I’m not quite 100 per cent,” she said. “But I can guarantee that I will go out there with the right attitude every day.

“I’ll give it a crack no matter what but this week’s going to be tough now without a doubt.”

Barty is competing at Roland Garros for the first time since she won the event two years ago; she stayed home during last October’s COVID-delayed edition and did not make a title defence.

Barty, who retired last month in Rome with a shoulder problem, needed a medical timeout for her hip after the second set but returned to the fray for victory. She said she and her team are prepared for any eventuality.

“We’ve crossed every T and dotted every I. We’ve done imaging, we’ve done everything that we can to get myself to a point where I can play. 

“It was an acute episode, I suppose we’ll call it, over the weekend. 

“I was feeling great, it’s just one of those things. It’s not perfect timing, but there never is a perfect time.”

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina schooled French teenaged wild card Oceane Babel  6-2, 7-5, but not without difficulty as the No. 1,111 went up a break for 5-2 in the second set.

The experienced Ukrainian got the match back under control with two breaks of the 17-year-old to reach the second round.

“It was challenging in some ways because I don’t know much about her going into the match.” the winner of six clay titles and a three-time quarter-finalist here said.

“I just knew she was left-handed and I had to be ready for anything. I started quite well but then she really raised her level.

Elina Svitolina winning first round match

“It was a good first match, you have to be ready for a good start and to work your way into the match.”

No 104 Venus Williams, whose best result here was a final 19 years ago, went out in the first round for a fourth consecutive year, losing 6-3, 6-1 to Ekaterina Alexandrova..

But the 40-year-old had a short, sharp answer for the doubters: “I know every single person asking me (about a match) a question cannot play as well as I can and never will.

“So no matter what you say or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me. 

“That’s how I deal with it. But each person deals with it differently,” she told inquiring media.

Coco Gauff needed nearly an hour and a quarter to win the first set against Serb N. 213 Alexandra Krunic before finally wrapping up a 7-6(11), 6-4 opening win in.just over two hours.

Paris, Roland Garros, French Open Day 3 01/06/2021 Coco Gauff (USA) wins first round match Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

In the opener, the pair combined for seven set points while Krunic saved 10 of the 11 break points she faced in the opener.


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