Iga Swiatek and Jannik Sinner Start French Open with Straight-Set Victories

 Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates after winning his men's singles match against US Christopher Eubanks on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on day two of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 27, 2024. (AFP)
Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates after winning his men's singles match against US Christopher Eubanks on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on day two of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 27, 2024. (AFP)
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Iga Swiatek and Jannik Sinner Start French Open with Straight-Set Victories

 Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates after winning his men's singles match against US Christopher Eubanks on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on day two of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 27, 2024. (AFP)
Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates after winning his men's singles match against US Christopher Eubanks on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on day two of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 27, 2024. (AFP)

Iga Swiatek began her bid for a third consecutive French Open title with a straightforward 6-1, 6-2 victory over Leolia Jeanjean on Monday, stretching her winning streak to 13 matches.

Swiatek, who has been ranked No. 1 for nearly every week since April 2022, put together an overwhelming 26-2 edge in winners and had just one, brief blip at Court Philippe Chatrier in the 1-hour, 1-minute match: She got broken to trail 1-0 in the second set.

But after nine unforced errors in the initial two games of that set, Swiatek made only two the rest of the way en route to a 15th consecutive win at Roland Garros. Three of her four Grand Slam trophies came in Paris — in 2020, 2022 and 2023. The last woman to win the championship at the clay-court major three straight times was Justine Henin in 2005-07.

“It feels like home here,” said Swiatek, who will meet four-time major champ and former No. 1 Naomi Osaka next. “I'm really happy to be back. Just feel like I can play really good tennis, so hopefully I'm going to be here as long as possible.”

Her match was going to be followed by one involving someone even more comfortable on the red clay: Rafael Nadal, the 14-time champion at Roland Garros. He was scheduled to face No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev in the first round — in what might end up being Nadal's last French Open match.

“For sure, I'll be watching Rafa’s match,” Swiatek said. “Comparing me to him? I don't think I'm at that level yet. He's a great person and a great athlete ... I will try to take lessons from him.”

In other early action Monday, reigning Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner improved to 8-0 in Grand Slam play in 2024 by defeating Chris Eubanks 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova eliminated Rebeka Masarova 6-1, 6-3 and two-time major finalist Ons Jabeur beat Sachia Vickery of the US 6-3, 6-2.

Sinner, who missed the Italian Open this month with an injured hip, moved well and his strokes seemed just fine. He limited the big-serving Eubanks to four aces, converted 5 of 10 break points and was broken only once himself.

Not surprisingly, the clean-striking Sinner won 10 of the 14 points that lasted nine strokes or more.

“The hip is good. I'm very happy. I'm glad that my team and myself worked very hard to be back on court as soon as possible,” Sinner said. “For sure, (my) general shape is not at 100% yet, so we try to build every day.”

The encounter lasted only a little more than two hours and, truth be told, Sinner was not really tested all that much.

“I'm obviously happy by what I have achieved in the last months. But our goal is to improve every day. That for me is more important. I know I have to improve some things,” said Sinner, who now faces French veteran Richard Gasquet. “Let's see what I can achieve in the future.”



Mbappé Wants to Erase Bad Memory of Decisive Penalty Miss

France's Kylian Mbappe waves for his fans during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
France's Kylian Mbappe waves for his fans during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Mbappé Wants to Erase Bad Memory of Decisive Penalty Miss

France's Kylian Mbappe waves for his fans during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
France's Kylian Mbappe waves for his fans during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The last time Kylian Mbappé kicked a ball at the European Championship, it sent France out of the competition.
He was the only player to miss in a penalty shootout against Switzerland, and France was eliminated from Euro 2020 in the round of 16 in a game where they led 3-1.
Mbappé, who received hateful abuse online following the miss, is desperate to make amends at Euro 2024 in Germany.
“It was a slap in the face when we failed at the Euro,” the 25-year-old striker said earlier this month. “It’s a big stain on my CV in the national team. I’m in a vengeful mood.”
France is in Group D, where it faces Austria on Monday, followed by the Netherlands on Friday and Poland on June 25.
Mbappé, the team captain, was missing from practice at France’s team based in Germany on Thursday but was back training with his teammates the following days, The Associated Press reported.
“He took some rest but he’s not going to lose his physical condition just because he missed one or two training sessions,” France veteran Olivier Giroud said Friday. “He still has the same legs that we all know and the determination to achieve a great competition. So don’t worry he’s going to be ready for the first match.”
Mbappé was too young to play for France when it reached the final at Euro 2016, bursting onto the scene as a teenager with Monaco the following season. At 19 he won the World Cup with France in 2018, scoring in the final. In Qatar four years later, he became only the second player after Brazil great Pelé to score a hat trick in a World Cup final, though France still lost the match on penalties to Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
“I’ve always wanted to shine for Les Bleus,” the 25-year-old Mbappé said on June 4 before a friendly against Luxembourg. “I’ve always felt this pride, this ambition to leave my mark on French soccer.”
With 47 international goals, he is third on the all-time scoring list behind Giroud (57) and Thierry Henry (51). If Mbappé remains injury free he could well pass 100 goals, a tally reached by just three men in soccer history — Messi, Ali Daei and 130-goal record holder Cristiano Ronaldo.
At club level, Mbappé recently left Paris Saint-Germain as its all-time leading scorer with 256 goals. He won the French league title six times with PSG and once with Monaco.
Although he’s never won the Champions League, or the men’s Ballon d’Or, those dreams could well be fulfilled at his new club Real Madrid over the next five seasons.
“What awaits me will be fantastic,” said Mbappé, who grew up in the Parisian suburb of Bondy. “I’m happy to have left my mark on the PSG’s history. Now there’s the Euro.”
His red-hot burning ambition with Les Bleus is to raise the European Championship trophy high above his head in Berlin in the Euro 2024 final on July 14 — France’s national day.
If Mbappé leaves Germany with a winners’ medal, he will emulate France greats Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.
Platini scored nine goals in five games from midfield when France won the European Championship in 1984. Zidane followed up his triumph at the 1998 World Cup with even better performances for champions Les Bleus at Euro 2000.
“We haven’t won it for a long time, 24 years is a lot for a nation like ours,” Mbappé said. “The Euro is a difficult competition, more than a World Cup. All the teams know each other and the style of soccer is similar. Group stages are difficult.”