Lesia Tsurenko upset 2021 Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova to reach the second round in Paris on Tuesday, while another Grand Slam champion, No.4 seed Elena Rybakina, won in straight sets.
On her 34th birthday, Ukraine's Tsurenko beat No.13 seed Krejcikova 6-2, 6-4. Tsurenko, a former Top 25 player currently ranked No.66, took just 1 hour and 27 minutes to oust the Czech Krejcikova in their first career meeting.
Moments later, Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the reigning Wimbledon titlist, beat 16-year-old Czech qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova 6-4, 6-2 in their 1-hour and 21-minute first-round match on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Another top win: Tsurenko, a US Open quarterfinalist in 2018, notched her 21st career victory over a player ranked inside the Top 20, with six of those coming at Grand Slam events. It is her first Top 20 win at a major since she beat then-No.2 Caroline Wozniacki during that US Open run five years ago.
Tsurenko converted five of her eight break points in the match, and she had 15 unforced errors, which was less than half of Krejcikova's 32. Tsurenko battled back from 3-0 down in the second set to wrap up the affair in straight sets.
"I'm very happy with my win," Tsurenko said afterwards. "It was a very tough draw for me because she's a great clay-court player. So I was really preparing myself for this match, and I'm really happy that I was able to play aggressive, to play, let's say, with character, and fight for every point."
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Krejcikova has gone 0-2 in singles at Roland Garros since she won her maiden Grand Slam singles title in Paris two years ago. Last year, Krejcikova lost in the first round to Diane Parry before withdrawing from the doubles event days later due to a positive Covid-19 test.
In the second round, Tsurenko will face Lauren Davis of the United States, who defeated Zhu Lin of China 6-3, 6-3 later on Tuesday. Tsurenko won their only previous meeting 6-4, 6-1 on the hard courts of Acapulco in 2018.
Rybakina challenged, but prevails: Despite the straightforward scoreline, Rybakina had to battle back from a break down in both sets against Fruhvirtova, who was seeking her first tour-level win in the sixth tour-level main draw of her career.
Rybakina hit nine aces en route to her 29th match-win of the season, second only to Aryna Sabalenka's 30 match-wins in 2023.
"We have so many tournaments, and of course you want to have good results on every tournament and you want to have this consistency," Rybakina said in press. "So this is what I'm working on, and I feel like it's still just the beginning. "
World No.146 Fruhvirtova, the second-youngest player in the main draw (fellow 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva is the youngest), fired a backhand winner to grab the first break of the day and a 4-3 lead in the first set.
But Rybakina rebounded, breaking back for 4-4 and saving two break points in a gritty hold for 5-4. A rally volley winner gave Rybakina a second straight break to close out the set, and she reeled off five straight games from 2-1 down in the second set to win that as well.
Rybakina will face another Czech teenager, 18-year-old Linda Noskova, in the second round.