Ashleigh Barty overcomes early scare in Roland Garros opener

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty managed to play through an injury problem and stave off an upset by American Bernarda Pera with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win in her opening match of the French Open yesterday.

Returning to the Philippe Chatrier court after her maiden Grand Slam win in 2019, the 25-year-old Australian was given a scare when the 70th-ranked Pera rallied to win the second set.

But Barty, who started the match with a heavily strapped left thigh, fought hard to win and earn a second-round meeting with either Magda Linette of Poland or Frenchwoman Chloe Paquet.

Earlier, fifth seed Elina Svitolina recovered from a 5-2 second-set deficit to beat French teenager Oceane Babel 6-2, 7-5 to make the second round.

In the men's draw, 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal opened his title defence with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(7/3) win over Australia's Alexei Popyrin.

Seventh seed Andrey Rublev, who beat Nadal en route to the Monte Carlo Masters final earlier this season, crashed at the first hurdle, losing 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 3-6, 6-4 to Jan-Lennard Struff. - REUTERS