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Roland-Garros: Sabalenka wins thrilling first round

Roland-Garros: Sabalenka wins thrilling first round


The 2023 edition of Roland-Garros got off to a thrilling start as the match between Russia’s No. 2 seed and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka and Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk began proceedings on Court Philippe Chatrier. Sabalenka won 6-3, 6-2, but the main story happened after the “game, set, match”.

The match ended on a tense note as there was no usual handshake after the match with Ukrainian players refusing to shake hands with players from Russia and Belarus due to the ongoing war in their country.

“I couldn’t understand what was going on,” Aryna Sabalenka said at her press conference. “Because, I mean, we all know that Ukrainian girls won’t shake hands with us, so it’s not a surprise to us, but probably the audience was surprised today. They saw it as a lack of respect for me as a player, so that’s why it was an exclamation from her.”

At first I thought they were booing me. I was a bit confused.

Ariana Sabalenka

“But at first I thought they were booing me. I was kind of confused, and I was like, okay, what do I do? I’ve spoken to my team, make sure I understand correctly. Then I sort of understood what was going on, and then I said thank you to the audience, kind of like I was sorry for what I did in the beginning […] I don’t think she deserves to leave the court like that.”

Kostyuk was the first to break and go up 3-2 in the first set, but Sabalenka showed why she has become a world beater this year as she ran off with four games in a row to win 6-3. In the second set, Sabalenka continued her streak of winning the first two games (six in a row overall) to go up 2-0. The Belarusian broke Kostyuk again to complete the 6-3, 6-2 victory in one hour and 11 minutes.

Although both players had spoken about this in the media prior to their match, the crowd expressed their displeasure when they started berating Kostyuk. Not having seen such booing at other events during the season, even Sabalenka was confused as she thought the audience might have booed her, only to realize that was not the case.

“Sorry guys, I didn’t understand at first. I thought this was booing at me. So I was a little surprised, but then I felt your support. Thank you very much for the support. It’s really important,” Sabalenka said during her court interview with Fabrice Santoro.

Sabalenka, who improved to 2-0 in life against 39th seed Kostyuk, has now won eight games in a row at the Slams and hopes to make nine if she plays the winner of the match between the Hungarian Panna Udvardy and Belarusian qualifier Iryna Shymanovich afterwards.

Roland-Garros (Grand Slam), other first round results (Stade Roland-Garros, clay court, EUR 49,600,000)

  • Lucia Bronzetti vs. Our Jabour
  • Selena Janicijevic vs. Ocean Dodin
  • Olga Danielovic vs. Catherine Baindl
  • Sorana Cirstea vs. Jasmine Paolini
  • Petra Martic vs. Shelby Rogers
  • Clara Burel vs. Sara smiles Tormo
  • Linda Noskova vs. Danko Kovinic
  • Elena Rybakina vs. Brenda Fruhvirtova
  • Rebekah Masarova vs. Coco Gauff
  • Arantxa Rus vs Julia Grabher
  • Mirra Andreava vs. Alison Riske-Amritraj
  • Anhelina Kalinina vs. Diane Parrie
  • Lesia Tsurenko vs. Barbara Krejcikova
  • Lin Zhu to Lauren Davis
  • Erika Andreeva vs. Emma Navarro
  • Victoria Azarenka vs. Bianca Andreascu
  • Xinyu Wang to Marie Bouzkova
  • Rebecca Peterson vs Fiona Ferro
  • Ylena In-Albon to Claire Liu
  • Iga Swiatek vs. Cristina Bucsa
  • Elena Ostapenko vs. Terez Martincova
  • Anna Blinkova vs. Ysaline Bonaventure
  • Simona Waltert to Elizabeth Mandlik
  • Petra Kvitova vs. Elizabeth Cocciaretto
  • Nao Hibino vs. Anna Lena Friedsam
  • Ekaterina Alexandrova vs. Victoria Tomova
  • Veronica Kudermetova vs. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
  • Caroline Garcia to Xiyu Wang
  • Peyton Stearns v Katerina Siniakova
  • Elina Svitolina vs. Martin Trevisan
  • Tatyana Maria vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia
  • Aliona Bolsova vs. Kristina Kukova
  • Yulia Putintseva vs. Maryna Zanevska
  • Varvara Gracheva vs. Dalma Galfi
  • Marketa Vondrousova v Alycia Parks
  • Elina Avanesyan vs. Belinda Bencic
  • Rebecca Marino to Diana Shnaider
  • Karolina Pliskova v Sloane Stephens
  • Catherine McNally to Ana Bogdan
  • Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Linda Fruhvirtova
  • Dayana Yastremska vs. Donna Veki
  • Anett Kontaveit vs. Bernarda Pera
  • Kaia Kanepi vs. Madison Keys
  • Kayla Day vs Kristina Mladenovic
  • Jule Niemeier vs. Daria Kasatkina
  • Danielle Collins to Jessica Pegula
  • Lyudmila Samsonova vs. Katie Volynets
  • Taylor Townsend vs Anastasia Potapova
  • Mayar Sherif vs. Madison Brengle
  • Anna Bondar vs. Irina-Camelia Begu
  • Sara Errani to Jil Teichmann
  • Clara Tauson vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich: Sunday
  • Tamara Zidansek vs. Qinwen Zheng: Sunday
  • Alize Cornet vs Camila Giorgi: Sunday
  • Leolia Jeanjean v Kimberly Birrell: Sunday
  • Magda Linette vs. Leylah Fernandez: Sunday
  • Elise Mertens (28) beats Viktoria Hruncakova (LL): 6-1, 6-4
  • Kamilla Rakhimova defeated Sara Bejlek (Q): 6-0, 6-3
  • Aryna Sabalenka (2) defeated Marta Kostyuk: 6-3, 6-2
  • Iryna Shymanovich (Q) defeated Panna Udvardy: 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1
  • Magdalena Frech defeated Shuai Zhang (29): 6-1, 6-1
  • Storm Hunter (Q) defeated Nuria Parrizas Diaz: 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
  • Nadia Podoroska defeated Jessica Ponchet (WC): 6-0, 6-2




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