French Open: Opening round takeaways

Upsets, rain, and second chances all played a key part in the first three days of the French Open.

French Open: Opening round takeaways
The forehand slice and drop shot really helped Kozlova fire to her upset over Ostapenko (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

With most of the first round matches having finished up there are plenty of talking points throughout the first three days at the French Open. We'll save the lack of the roof talk for another day since a few sessions have seen rain. Here are some key talking points from the first three days in the French capital.

Favorites Struggle

Rafael Nadal, a 10-time champion in Paris, has gone through the rigors of knowing what it takes to be a defending champion and is the runaway favorite to capture the title, struggled at times in his first round match that took place over two days.

Lucky loser Simone Bolelli took his chances, despite going down two sets, hitting the Spaniard off court. The Italian took a 3-0 lead in the third before conceding it and even held set points before losing in the tiebreak. It was a valiant effort and may give some who will meet Nadal later on, a recipe to go by.

Nadal and Bolelli share a nice moment at the net (NurPhoto/Getty Images)
Nadal and Bolelli share a nice moment at the net (NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Defending women's champion Jelena Ostapenko found herself exiting early after a shocking performance which saw double-digit double faults and more than 50 unforced errors. All credit though to Kateryna Kozlova who made the Latvian uncomfortable, mixing up her shot repertoire and even battled through blisters on her foot to capture the biggest win of her career.

Elina Svitolina, probably the second favorite on the women's side, had an excellent draw but was handed a tricky opening match against Alja Tomljanovic. The Ukrainian was 1-5 down before reeling off six straight games to take the opening set 7-5 and then winning in straight sets. 

Last but not least on the women's side, Petra Kvitova went the distance against Veronica Cepede Royg. The Paraguayan stole the opening set before the Czech combatted the efforts of Cepede Royg. The Czech won her two clay court leadups in Prague and Madrid before the French so she'll be one to watch for throughout the week.

Making The Most Of Second Chances

The story of Marco Trungelliti's journey was quite amazing, driving from Barcelona to Paris with his mother and grandmother then winning his first round match against Bernard Tomic. Let's not forget about the other lucky losers though. Jurgen Zopp, Ruben Bemelmans, Sergiy Stakhovsky were all lucky losers to see themselves into round two with the Estonian, Zopp, frying the biggest fish of them all in Jack Sock. 

Zopp overcame a two sets to one deficit as well as a fiery Sock to complete the upset. 

Jurgen Zopp will look to advance to the third round as he faces fellow lucky loser Ruben Bemelmans in the second round (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Jurgen Zopp will look to advance to the third round as he faces fellow lucky loser Ruben Bemelmans in the second round (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Shaking Off The Rust

Depsite not advancing, Victoria Azarenka showed signs of her former self during her opening match against Katerina Siniakova. With more match practice, the Belarussian will be threatening to win titles consistently again.

Serena Williams was not at her best self either but as was expected for someone who has not played since Miami. She won a number of lengthy points, which we would not have seen during the Sunshine Double, showing signs of that improved fitness in her first Grand Slam match since her Australian Open win last year. 

Not much was made about Stan Wawrinka's return to tennis after a three-month layoff due to a knee injury. But clearly, the Stanimal is a shell of his former self so far. The former French Open champion was stunned in the first round by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and will see his ranking tumble outside the world's top 250 after failing to defend his finalist points from last year.