PARIS, France - Emptying out the notebook from Day 1 at Roland Garros.
Madison Brengle 'bumbling' through Paris.
Madison Brengle has earned herself more than a few sips of red wine. The 27-year-old American came through a grueling 2 hour and 48 minute grind to edge an ailing Julia Goerges 1-6, 6-3, 13-11 to advance to the second round. Asked how she managed the stress levels throughout the 1 hour and 40 minute final set, the affable American laughed.
"I was about to say, like, wine."
Brengle's relaxed take on the court has extended off the court as well. Her good friend, former pro Julie Coin, lives in Paris and has been tooling them around the city on her scooter. It's Brengle's own version of "Roman Holiday" except, you know, Paris.
"My all time favorite thing is driving around on the back of her Vespa around Paris," Brengle said. "She was a little yellow one and I named it Bumble. I just want to go everywhere on Bumble. Take me on Bumble. So that's the highlight of Paris for me is riding the Vespa."
"I just sit on the back and look around and it's so much fun. I have my little helmet. It's great."
Next up for Brengle: No.30 seed Timea Bacsinszky.
One car will have to do for Ekaterina Makarova.
The Russian became the first woman ever to knock out a No.1 seed from Roland Garros, playing a tight, clean match to beat No.1 Angelique Kerber, 6-2, 6-2. The win was Makarova's 10th over a Top 10 player at a major. Only Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova have more Top 10 Slam wins among active players.
Makarova told reporters in Dubai earlier this year that she received a brand new BMW from the Russian Federation after winning Olympic gold in doubles last summer. So...what does she get for beating a World No.1 at a Slam?
"Nothing for Grand Slam and nothing for beating such great players," Makarova said with a laugh. "But still, I will fight."
Makarova plays Lesia Tsurenko in the second round.
Cagla Buyukakcay continues the Turkish tennis revolution.
Last year, Buyukakcay finished off a successful qualifying campaign to become the first Turkish woman to play the singles main draw at a Slam here at Roland Garros. A few days later she became the first Turkish woman to win a main draw singles match at a Slam.
On Sunday the 27-year-old repeated the feat, scoring the most surprising upset of the day with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Australian Open semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. Afterwards, Buyukakcay told reporters about the impact of her trailblazing career back home:
"When I won Istanbul last year something started in Turkey," Buyukakcay said. "Everybody started to believe they could be a professional tennis player after growing up in Turkey, playing there, to be successful. I think that's a great start. I think more people are playing, more girl. Everybody says I'm the one in front and everybody is looking at me. When I was young it was a dream to see someone in the Grand Slams.
"If I had someone in front of me, my dreams would have been bigger. If I had more tennis players in my country I could follow from them, but I couldn't. I learned on tour a lot of things, how to work, the discipline, the athlete's life. But I'm happy that I'm still young and I'm learning all the time from the tour and now I think the younger ones are more lucky than me."
"I think I learned about sportsmanship on tour. When the level is going higher I see more respect. It doesn't mean that I didn't know how to respect, but it's something you learn more on tour because you know people are working hard. You don't think about talent anymore. In Turkey, the word 'talent' is always in front. But I saw that talent alone is nothing. You have to work hard on it. That's what I learned on tour. That's why I was always trying to improve myself and work hard and that's why I did good things."
Buyukakcay plays 2016 French Open quarterfinalist Shelby Rogers in the second round.
Strength and courage lead to a big "Pojd!" on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Petra Kvitova didn't just make a winning return to competition; she did it in style. The two-time Wimbledon champion left jaws agape on press row as she far exceeded anyone's expectations as to her form in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Julia Boserup in her first match of the season.
Kvitova's team was decked out in matching Nike t-shirts that read "Strength. Courage. Pojd!" the latter being Kvitova's signature "Come on!" cry in Czech.
"The courage and belief, that's what I probably had to have in this kind of situation," Kvitova said. "The belief and the mind, the heart, it's really important. So that's what we tried to show everyone. I hope that it will be kind of an inspiration for other people, as well."
Needless to say, the locker room was watching Kvitova's comeback closely, though they may not have been able to see much through the tears:
"I'm sure it was super emotional," Venus Williams said. "I didn't get to see the match, but it's great to have her back. You don't imagine in life that you're going to go through [what she did]. I don't think you wake up and realize that's gonna happen. I'm very happy that she's had a winning return."
Venus Williams flying solo.
It's not the first time Venus has played a Slam without Serena. Still, it's been a while; the last time came at the 2011 Australian Open, when Serena was still on the mend after foot surgery. But it's definitely a rare occasion, though one that this time Venus was prepared for.
"We definitely miss the doubles, we were talking about that, how much we miss the doubles," Venus said.
"But obviously I have played events without her. I think I was prepared to come here without her. When you know something is going to happen, then you're like, Okay, I'm ready to deal with this. I've had some time to prepare.
"I think it's not easy for her to watch because obviously she knows she can do well here. So I think that she's just excited about everything coming up in her life, on and off the court, excited about returning here hopefully next year."
Quote of the Day: Take it away, Madison.
Q. On that note in a place like Paris, is it difficult as an elite athlete to stay away from some of the better food offerings?
MADISON BRENGLE: I'm not staying away from them. I'm just eating them. And I burnt a lot of calories today, so I'm going to go eat more of them now.
Q. Anything in particular you look forward to most when you come to Paris?
MADISON BRENGLE: Wine? Wine. Definitely wine.