The Latest: Sloane Stephens eases into French Open 2nd round
By The Associated Press
PARIS (AP) The Latest on the French Open, the year's second Grand Slam tennis tournament (all times local):
Reigning U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens needed less than an hour to move into the second round at Roland Garros.
The 10th-seeded Stephens advanced with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands on Sunday at the French Open.
It was Stephens' first win at a Grand Slam tournament since claiming her first major title in New York last September.
The American lost in the first round at the Australian Open in January. Rus was in the first round in Paris as a "lucky loser."
Mohamed Safwat is the first man from Egypt to play in a Grand Slam tennis tournament's main draw in 22 years - and he got very little notice that chance would come at the French Open.
Safwat got into the field as a "lucky loser," someone who failed to make it out of the qualifying rounds but is given a berth when another player withdraws. In this case, Victor Troicki pulled out Sunday because of an injured lower back.
So, the 182nd-ranked Safwat made his Grand Slam debut on Court Philippe Chatrier against No. 4-seeded Grigor Dimitrov. Not surprisingly, Dimitrov won 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (1).
Dimitrov said he only found out he'd be playing Safwat about 20 minutes beforehand.
Safwat was cheered off the court in a rousing ovation. The last Egyptian man to play at a major tournament was Tamer El Sawy at the 1996 U.S. Open.
Fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina was a point away from dropping her first set at the French Open before taking eight consecutive games and coming back to beat 68th-ranked Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-3.
Svitolina is coming off a clay-court title in Rome and is one of a half-dozen players who can move up to No. 1 in the rankings by the end of the tournament at Roland Garros.
But she started about as poorly as possible on Day 1 at the year's second major tournament: Tomljanovic held at love for a 5-1 lead at the outset. Tomljanovic then served for the set at 5-2 and held a set point but double-faulted it away and got broken there, then again while serving for the set at 5-4.
That was all part of the eight-game run for Svitolina that gave her that set and a 2-0 lead in the second.
Svitolina has reached the quarterfinals in Paris in two of the past three years. She's never been past that round at any Grand Slam tournament.
Venus Williams and rain are on the schedule as the year's second Grand Slam tournament is set to start at Roland Garros.
The French Open is the only major tennis championship that begins on a Sunday, making it a 15-day event.
The forecast calls for showers in the afternoon.
In addition to seven-time major champion Williams - whose younger sister, Serena, is not in action on Day 1 as she returns to Grand Slam tennis after giving birth to a daughter - other players slated to compete include defending champ Jelena Ostapenko and reigning U.S. Open champ Sloane Stephens.
Two of the four highest-seeded men are also supposed to play: No. 2 Alexander Zverev and No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov.
More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis
Updated May 27, 2018
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