Simona Halep was pushed in her first-round win at Roland Garros on Tuesday, eventually moving past 18-year-old lucky loser Nastasja Schunk 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.
Halep, the 2018 Roland Garros champion and a two-time runner-up in Paris, squeezed past the German teenager in 1 hour and 48 minutes and moved past the first round in Paris for the eighth straight time.
Experience wins out: On Court Simmone Mathieu, No.19 seed Halep played her 42nd career main-draw match at the French Open, more than any other player in the draw.
On the other side of the net was Schunk, who was playing in her first Grand Slam main draw. Schunk lost in the final round of qualifying to Hailey Baptiste before taking injured Ana Konjuh's spot in the main draw against Halep.
However, Schunk proved to be one to watch with her performance. The German had already made waves over the past year, reaching the 2021 Junior Wimbledon final and rising from No.675 to her current career-high placement of No.165 in a 12-month span.
Match moments: Bolstered by a powerful lefty forehand, Schunk initially led 4-2, but Halep tightened up her game and drew errors from the German, sweeping four games in a row to take the one-set lead. Schunk, though, grabbed another early lead in the second set and never let that one go.
Halep gritted through two lengthy games to open the third set, and after coming out on top in those rallies, she took charge from there. Halep finished the match with five aces and converted five of her 10 break points overall. Schunk had 13 chances to break but converted only four.
A rematch awaits: In the second round, Halep will take on another teenager, World No.74 Zheng Qinwen of China. Halep and 19-year-old Zheng have met once before, with Halep defeating Zheng in the semifinals of Melbourne Summer Set 1 earlier this year, en route to the title.
Sabalenka outlasts Paquet
In the last first-round match of the tournament, Aryna Sabalenka was a set away from becoming the fifth Top 10 seed to depart in the opening round. But the No.7 turned her match around against French hope Chloe Paquet, prevailing 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
World No.101 Paquet, in her first career match against a Top 10 opponent, took advantage of 13 unforced errors by Sabalenka as she grabbed the first set on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
However, Sabalenka's powerful shots improved down the stretch, and she triumphed despite being down an early break in each of the last two sets. Former World No.2 Sabalenka advanced despite her 50 unforced errors outpacing 42 total winners.
Next up for Sabalenka will be a second-round match with American Madison Brengle. Sabalenka has won both of their previous meetings.
In other late first-round matches, No.20 seed Daria Kasatkina breezed past lucky loser Rebecca Sramkova 6-2, 6-0, and No.24 seed Tamara Zidansek, a Roland Garros semifinalist last year, dispatched Claire Liu 6-2, 6-2.