Tennis

Muguruza pays tribute to 'legend' Schiavone

Garbine Muguruza hailed the incredible longevity of Francesca Schiavone after defeating the veteran Italian in a first-round battle of French Open champions yesterday.

Spaniard Muguruza, who won her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros last year, swept aside 2010 champion Schiavone 6-2, 6-4.

"I cannot believe in the first round we have two ex-champions. Not only that but Francesca is also a legend and I was very excited to play on the Philippe Chatrier court with her," said Muguruza.

"She has been on the Tour for such a long time and, when I look back on some videos, I heard her name since I'm, like, I don't know how old.

"She's still playing. She's fitter than most of the players. I'm, like, how is it possible? I think she loves it. She kind of enjoys it out there."

The fourth seed admitted that Schiavone's surprise 2010 final victory over Sam Stosur was a fond memory.

"I saw her match in the final here, and I kind of like it. I was happy that she won the French Open at that time," said Muguruza.

However, the 23-year-old doesn't believe she can emulate Schiavone, who turns 37 next month, in terms of a career spanning two decades.

"I don't see myself playing at 36 with that shape. I think she has a spectacular body, also, to be able to do that.

"I don't know if my body can handle with how many injuries I have, and I'm 23. So it's going to be tough."

Meanwhile, wildcard Jaimee Fourlis, aged 17 and, at 337, the lowest-ranked player in the main draw, served up a major scare for Caroline Wozniacki at Roland Garros yesterday.

The Australian teenager made light of the 300-plus ranking places separating them to push the 11th seeded Dane to three sets.

Wozniacki, who appeared to be carrying the after-effects of a lower back injury that forced her to retire during last week's Strasbourg tournament, pulled away towards the end of a testy encounter, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in just over two hours. - WIRE SERVICES


WOMEN'S SINGLES 1ST RD RESULTS (SELECTED)

  • Garbine Muguruza (x4) bt Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-4
  • Caroline Wozniacki (x11) bt Jaimee Fourlis 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
  • Kiki Bertens (x18) bt Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
  • Elise Mertens bt Daria Gavrilova (x24) 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 6-4
  • Ana Konjuh (x29) bt Danka Kovinic 7-5, 7-6 (7/4)
  • Zhang Shuai (x32) bt Donna Vekic 7-5, 6-4
  • Richel Hogenkamp bt Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 7-5.
tennisFrench Open