French Open: Maria Sharapova starts title defence with win

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova won the French Open in 2012 and 2014
French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentaries on every Andy Murray match and other key matches.

Maria Sharapova made a successful start to the defence of her French Open title with a 6-2 6-4 win over Estonia's Kaia Kanepi.

The second-seeded Russian, 28, will now play compatriot Vitalia Diatchenko.

Former world number two and 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, seeded 14th, lost 6-2 3-6 6-1 to Germany's Annika Beck.

In the men's draw, fourth seed Tomas Berdych reached round two by beating Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-0 7-5 6-3.

The biggest name to falter on day two was Spain's Feliciano Lopez, with the 11th seed suffering a 6-3 7-6 (11-9) 6-3 defeat by Teymuraz Gabashvili.

Double Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, seeded 27, marked her return to Roland Garros after missing last year's event with a foot injury with a 6-2 6-1 win over Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor.

USA's Sloane Stephens defeated compatriot and 2002 finalist Venus Williams 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 and will face Britain's Heather Watson in round two.

Sharapova given the cold shoulder

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova thanked the crowd but did not hang around for a chat

The French Open crowd are not exactly famed for their charity towards players they feel are not giving everything, no matter how big a name.

Those on Philippe Chatrier let defending champion Sharapova have it when she declined the usual post-match interview, it later transpired because she has a cold.

"Of course I totally understand that," said the Russian. "Everyone usually does interviews and answers a few questions to the crowd. It's absolutely normal.

"I'm not making any excuses but I've got to do what I have to do."

Underarm service is below par

French player Virginie Razzano
Virginie Razzano reached the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2009

French player Virginie Razzano stunned the crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen by attempting to serve out for victory with an underarm serve.

The wildcard entry, 32, missed with the second serve to concede a double fault against Paraguayan qualifier Veronica Cepede Royg.

Razzano, who knocked out Serena Williams in 2012, recovered her poise to complete a 2-6 6-4 6-2 victory.

She said: "I wasn't feeling that great today. I'm sorry, I spooned the ball over. That's the baggage that I carry."

The shot revived memories of Michael Chang's underarm service in a fourth-round victory over Ivan Lendl in 1989 before the American went on to take the title and become the youngest ever winner of the Roland Garros title at just 17.

Shorts of the day

Yoshihito Nishioka
Yoshihito Nishioka is ranked 146 in the world

Japanese teenager Nishioka was unable to make an impact on the court with his tennis but the 19-year-old made an impression with his dapper shorts, sporting the sort of patterns usually seen on a golf course.

Hoping for a first victory on the Parisian clay, the qualifier was overwhelmed by his big-hitting opponent, Berdych.

The 29-year-old secured the first set in 27 minutes and Nishioka's resistance only slightly improved thereafter, giving the fourth seed his 10th victory on clay this year.

The 2010 semi-finalist won 82% of his first service points and will now prepare to face fellow Czech Radek Stepanek, who beat Ivan Dodig 5-7 6-3 6-4 6-1.

Tuning up nicely

Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova won the singles title at Wimbldeon in 2011 and 2014

How do Grand Slam champions prepare for a major tournament? If Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is an example, they put on a pair of blue jeans, grab an acoustic guitar and pretend to be Bob Dylan.

The Czech plays Marina Erakovic on Philippe Chatrier on Tuesday and tweeted: "Getting ready for tomorrow in a special way."

Hopefully the fourth seed won't mistakenly pack her guitar instead of her racquets.

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