Traditionally, Radwanska has struggled to replicate her hard and grass court wizardry on the clay. However, this year, the Pole seems to have found her clay court shoes, performing credibly in her three warm-up events, in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome. The draw in Paris paired her with Zhang, a player who, despite her recent improvements, had never won a match at Roland Garros or any other major.
The Turning Point
In an opening set where both players struggled on serve, the turning point came in the eighth game when Radwanska finally held with an ace down the T. A few minutes later, she wrapped up the set when Zhang fired a forehand long.
With her service jitters now banished, Radwanska was in full flow at the start of the second set, some characteristically subtle touches helping her to yet another break. From here there was no way back for Zhang, and after just over an hour on court Radwanska wrapped up victory with yet another delicate drop volley.
"The first set was definitely key," Radwanska said. "There were so many breaks in a row but then when I held I started to play much better and go more for my shots more.
"For sure, every two set match in a Slam is great so I'm pleased to have my first round match over and done. I love to be back in Paris, even if it's a bit cold at the moment! Now I'll wait to see who I have in second round."