PARIS, France - Kiki Bertens and Samantha Stosur continued their recent runs of form at Roland Garros on Monday, as each was made to work en route to first-round victories at the French Open.
Bertens, the No.18 seed, rallied from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanovic, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, while Stosur came from a break down and saved a set point in the first set in a 7-5, 6-1 defeat of Slovakia's Kristina Kucova.
A surprise semifinalist at Roland Garros last year, there would be no such tag applied to the Dutchwoman this season as she again comes off a title at the Nürnberger Versicherung.
However, she lost her first set in six matches on Court 2 on Monday, as a lone break for Tomljanovic on her only opportunity decided the opener. Bertens never had a chance to pull even and won just 35 percent of points on the Australian's serve. Nonetheless, the Dutchwoman cleaned up her game from there, striking a total of 14 unforced errors in the next two sets - to match the total she hit in the first - to go along with 17 winners.
"It [winning Strasbourg] wasn't, obviously, the easiest necessarily preparation going into a Grand Slam, but on the other hand winning a title and winning five matches in a row is awesome preparation," Stosur said. "It was still definitely a very quick turnaround given, you know, the length and the toughness of the match I played against Dasha [Gavrilova] just on Saturday, but all in all, I'm really happy with the way I played today and through to the second round.
"I've, obviously, had great results here in the past. It's a surface that I enjoy playing on. And even up until last week I still felt like I was playing well throughout the clay season and was getting better and better as the weeks were going on, and I guess I proved that to myself last week."
While Strasbourg champion Stosur safely advanced, the same couldn't be said for her compatriot, No.25 seed and Strasbourg runner-up, Daria Gavrilova, who was sent out at the hands of Belgian Elise Mertens, 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-4.
Hitting 34 winners in three sets, the Belgian came from a break down in the opening set, and was a break down late in the decider
"It's incredible. I had no words. I never thought I would do this," Mertens said of the two hour, 16-minute victory. "I played her three weeks ago [in Rabat, a defeat] and, yeah, I'm just very happy. This is maybe the biggest win ever because we are in a Grand Slam tournament. I was down 4-3, and then I started to play more aggressively and, yeah, it pays off."
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Yulia Putintseva and Ana Konjuh added to the seeded victories on Monday, as each progressed safely through to the second round. No.16 seed Pavlyuchenkova advanced when Patricia Maria Tig retired with the Russian leading, 6-1, 1-0, while Konjuh, seeded No.29, came from 3-5 down in the opener to defeat Danka Kovinic, 7-5, 7-6(4).
Putintseva, the No.27 seed and a quarterfinalist from a year ago, surrendered just three games against French wildcard Myrtille Georges, 6-3, 6-0.
Closing out the day, No.14 seed Elena Vesnina hung on to edge qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, despite nearly seeing a 5-1 lead slip in the decider. However, the No.19 and No.25 seeded Americans both suffered opening roundsefeats; CoCo Vandeweghe was ousted by former World No.31 Magdalena Rybarikova, who recently returned from wrist and knee surgery, 6-1, 6-4, while Davis was sent home by Germany's Carina Witthoeft, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
The unseeded French contingent had a mixed day on day two, with Pauline Parmentier posting the only victory with a 6-3, 6-0 decision against Irina Khromacheva, while Georges, Alizé Lim amd Tessah Andrianjafitrimo all suffered defeats.