Australia's Samantha Stosur has become the first player through to the second round of the French Open, defeating Britain's Elena Baltacha 6-4, 6-0 on a sweltering opening day at Roland Garros.
The 2010 runner-up will next play Irina Falconi of the United States, who defeated Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
The US Open champion got French Open proceedings underway on Philippe Chatrier centre-court and wasted no time in jumping out into a 3-0 lead over the British number one, ranked 68 in the world.
Stosur served for the first set at 5-3 but was broken, only to use her heavy top spin to again force Baltacha onto the back foot in the next game.
After going a set up, Stosur earned a break point in the second game of the second set with a confident volley at the net and she took that when Baltacha hit a weak backhand into the net.
A break to love two games later put the Australian 4-0 up and she had no difficulty closing out a one-sided contest in just over one hour.
"It's good to be on these courts again. I think it is obviously a beautiful court to play on. The ball definitely gets up high," Stosur said.
"You can use your kick serve and top spin ground strokes."
Due to the French Open breaking from grand slam tradition with a Sunday start, Stosur now has a two-day wait before her next match against unseeded American Irina Falconi.
"Obviously it's quite unusual," Stosur said.
"This is the only one where you can possibly have that time off, but maybe I'll play a doubles match between now and then.
"Otherwise I guess I'll spend two days practising. Maybe tomorrow I can do a bit more of a harder practice than what you would normally do when the tournament's already started.
"But it's okay. It's not going to be a hindrance or anything majorly positive that I've got this extra day now."
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga survived the weight of home expectations while dangerman Juan Martin Del Potro shrugged off an injury scare before triumphing.
French fifth seed Tsonga, the highest-ranked player in action, overcame a worrying first set wobble to beat Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Tsonga, who sparked controversy on the eve of the tournament by claiming that French players had no chance of winning their home grand slam, next faces Germany's Cedrik-Marcel Stebbe.
The last Frenchman to win the title in Paris was Yannick Noah in 1983.
"Against such a player, you feel, OK, let's wait for the storm to be over and in half an hour I'll see what's going on," said Tsonga of his opponent, who was the 2009 Wimbledon junior champion but was making his debut in Paris.
Ninth seed Del Potro, the Argentine who won the 2009 US Open having made the semi-finals in Paris in the same year, saw off Spanish veteran Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-1 in a shade over three hours.
He will tackle France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin for a place in the last 32.
Del Potro, a potential quarter-final opponent of Roger Federer, beat Montanes in straight sets on his way to the Estoril title in April.
But he endured a bumpy ride on Philippe Chatrier when his troublesome left knee, which had already been taped, required further strapping at the end of the marathon second set.
The 23-year-old, the only man outside of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Federer to win a grand slam title in the last seven years, also needed a doctor three games into the second set as the soaring temperatures threatened to take their toll.
"I was struggling a little, but I had some good treatment which allowed me to finish the match," Del Potro said.
"Roland Garros is a physically-demanding tournament. I have to keep that in mind as I am playing well at the moment."
Andy Roddick slumped to a fifth French Open first round defeat in 10 visits when the injury-plagued American lost 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to France's Nicolas Mahut.
Former US Open champion Roddick, who has never got beyond the third round, came into Roland Garros having made his season's European claycourt bow only in Dusseldorf last week where he lost all three matches.
Now ranked at 29 in the world, Roddick has been battling hamstring and hip problems for most of the year.
"Down two sets, it's not where you want to be," Roddick said.
"I move horrendously on this stuff, I feel like I am shuffling around. I made a choice to play and I lost."
Also making the last 64 was 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, who defeated French wildcard Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
In the women's event, former champions Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia joined Stosur in the next round.
Kuznetsova, the 2009 winner, marked her 40th grand slam appearance with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 win over Croatian world number 117 Mirjana Lucic.
Serbian 13th seed Ivanovic, the 2008 champion, cruised past Spain's Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino 6-1, 6-1 in under an hour.
Venus Williams battled back from a set down to defeat Argentine teenager Paula Ormaechea 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Williams, seven-times a grand slam title winner and runner-up in Paris to sister Serena in 2002, faces either Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska or Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia for a place in the third round.
The American is now ranked 53 in the world after battling energy-sapping Sjogren's Syndrome.
World number one Djokovic kicks off his bid for a historic grand slam on Monday when he tackles Italian claycourter Potito Starace.
The top seed is just seven wins away from becoming only the third man to hold all four majors at the same time.
Federer, the holder of a record 16 grand slam titles, was the champion at Roland Garros in 2009, and he also starts his campaign on Monday against Germany's Tobias Kamke.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal, chasing a seventh French Open, begins on Tuesday against Italy's Simone Bolelli.
AFPTags: tennis, sport, france, australia First posted May 28, 2012 06:15:40