Rybakina eases past Minnen into French Open second round


World number four Elena Rybakina recovered from a rocky start to comfortably beat Belgian Greet Minnen 6-2 6-3 in the French Open first round on Tuesday, showing a full recovery from her recent illness.

Rybakina was unable to defend her Italian Open title through illness and after losing serve in the opening game at Roland Garros and going 2-0 down, it looked like the Kazakh could be in trouble.

The fourth seed roared back, however, to take the next six games and win the first set, and began the second set in the same fashion, cruising to a 4-0 lead.

Minnen rallied and broke serve, and when Rybakina broke for a third time in the second set and served for the match, the Belgian broke again. But it only delayed the inevitable as the Kazakh held her next service game to win the match.

Rybakina is the only player to beat Iga Swiatek on clay this year, defeating the world number one and three-times French Open winner on her way to the Stuttgart title in April.

Seventh seed Zheng Qinwen powered past Alize Cornet 6-2 6-1 and into the second round, sending the Frenchwoman into retirement with a heavy defeat at her home Grand Slam, where she has featured for 20 straight years.

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