French Open | Venus Williams and Jelena Ostapenko lose in first round
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Defending champion Jelena Ostapenko and seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams went out of the French Open in the first round on Sunday.
Nobody plans on this. There are no perfect days in tennis. Venus Williams
Latvian fifth seed Ostapenko was stunned by Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova, who came through 7-5 6-3.
American ninth seed Williams, a finalist at Roland Garros in 2002, was beaten 6-4 7-5 by world number 91 Wang Qiang of China.
Meanwhile, fourth seed Elina Svitolina beat Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-3.
It is the first time in 78 Grand Slam appearances stretching back to 1997 that Williams has lost successive first-round matches at a major.
“Nobody plans on this,” said the 37-year-old, who also went out in the first round at the Australian Open in January. “There are no perfect days in tennis.”
Last year, at the age of 19, the then unseeded Ostapenko pulled off a massive coup by beating current world number one Simona Halep to take the title in Paris.
But this time around, she was beaten in 95 minutes on Philippe Chatrier by world number 66 Kozlova, who had never triumphed over a top-30 player and needed a medical timeout to treat blisters.
“I really didn’t expect anything from the match,” Kozlova said. “Basically, I have hardly played for two and a half months but I wanted to show what I can do.”
Ostapenko becomes only the second women’s defending champion to lose in the first round of the French Open in the Open era after Anastasia Myskina in 2005.
Britain’s Johanna Konta was also a first-round casualty, going down in straight sets against world number 93 Yulia Putintseva, who won 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 24 minutes.
World number 10 Sloane Stephens, who won the US Open last year, breezed into the second round by beating Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands 6-2 6-0.