Iga Swiatek launched her French Open title defence on her birthday by thrashing her buddy Kaja Juvan 6-0 7-5.

But her win at Roland Garros in Paris on Monday was overshadowed by news that Naomi Osaka had pulled out of the tournament amid a furore about her media boycott.

World No.2 Osaka announced her withdrawal via Twitter on Monday after her decision not to take part in press conferences or interviews became the biggest talking point of the tournament.

Osaka, who cited mental health reasons, wrote on Twitter: “I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.”

The head of the French Tennis Federation, Gilles Moretton, said they were sorry and sad for Osaka.

“The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery and we look forward to having her at our tournament next year.”

Before that, Swiatek, who turned 20 on Monday, had moved to the second round in her bid to become the first woman since Justine Henin in 2007 to win consecutive French Open titles.

“It’s never easy to play against your best friend,” Swiatek told reporters later.

“You just try to block this friendship for two hours, just focus on the game. I think I’m doing that pretty well. It’s nice to have that skill.”

Swiatek will need the skill if she has to contend with world No.1 Ash Barty, who won the French Open in 2019 but skipped the trip in 2020 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and risks.

Barty plays her first round match against Bernarda Pera of the US on Tuesday.

It was a poor day for other former women’s Grand Slam champions on Monday with Canada’s Bianca Andreescu becoming the highest women’s seed to fall at the French Open so far, losing a three-hour marathon against Tamara Zidansek.

Sixth seed Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, went down 6-7(1) 7-6(2) 9-7 to the Slovenian.

Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, who beat Serena Williams to win the title in 2016, was outplayed 6-1 6-4 by Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk.

Muguruza, the 12th seed, racked up 40 unforced errors as she suffered her earliest ever defeat at Roland Garros.

Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, who blasted her way to the French Open title in 2017, also went out, losing 6-4 4-6 6-3 to last year’s runner-up Sofia Kenin.

The women’s draw lost another big name when 2016 French Open semi-finalist Kiki Bertens fell at the first hurdle, losing 6-1 3-6 6-4 to another Slovenian, Polona Hercog.

Marketa Vondrousova, the 2019 runner-up who is seeded 20th this year, managed to avoid an early exit, battling back from a set down to beat Kaia Kanepi 4-6 6-3 6-0.

Johanna Konta, a semi-finalist in 2019, also crashed out as the 19th seed lost 7-6(5) 6-2 to 54th-ranked Romanian Sorana Cirstea — ending British hopes in the women’s singles.

Swiatek wins over ‘best friend’ in Paris
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