Simona Halep pleased to overcome French Open first-round nerves

Romania's Simona Halep returns the ball during a training session in Paris

Romania's Simona Halep returns the ball during a training session in Paris

Top seed Simona Halep, of Romania, reached the second round of the French Open a day later than expected and not without a fright as she recovered from a slow start to beat American Alison Riske 2-6 6-1 6-1 on Wednesday.

"I was in a little bit of trouble in the beginning because I could not find my rhythm so I am glad to finish this in two sets", she added.

There was easier progress for second seed and Australian Open victor Caroline Wozniacki, as the Dane cruised past Spain's Georgina Garcia Perez 6-1, 6-0, while Ukraine's fourth seed Elina Svitolina beat Slovakia's Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3, 6-4.

The 83rd-ranked Riske won three games in her previous claycourt meeting with the twice Roland Garros runner-up but broke serve three times in taking the opening set.

The 26-year-old Romanian hit 16 unforced errors in a opening set, but then won nine of the next 10 games to take control. The Romanian may have her trickiest match so far in the third round against Andrea Petkovic, in what will be a rematch of the 2014 semifinal her that Halep won in straight sets. The mental game has always been Halep's downfall and something that can give her opponent a chance of pulling off the victory.

Djokovic, the 2016 Roland Garros champion and former world number one, is seeded 20 this year after struggling to rediscover his best form after returning from a right elbow injury.

Top seed asserts her authority with aggressive tennis after wayward first set to down Alison Riske.

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Simona Halep slams a forehand to Alison Riske of the US during their first round match of the French Open in Paris, May 30, 2018. "I play with a sense of "come on".

Halep's next opponent, 72nd-ranked Taylor Townsend of the United States, played her first-round match on Tuesday.

"It was good that I came back so strong", Halep, beaten in last year's final by Jelena Ostapenko, said. "It's nearly like you're not thinking, your body knows what to do", she explained.

"Maybe doing that was really important to today be No. 1", she said.

Reigning Australian Open champion Wozniacki, who can regain the world number one ranking from Simona Halep by winning a second Grand Slam title in Paris, will next play the victor of the all-French clash between Alize Cornet and Pauline Parmentier.

Ukraine's fourth seed Elina Svitolina reached the third round with a 6-3 6-4 win over Slovakia's Viktoria Kuzmova.

Playing from three feet behind the baseline, charging, changing directions, at times playing with an open stance, she demonstrated yet again that staying was winning. Osaka claimed the fifth win on clay this season and moved to the third round for the seventh time in eight Grand Slam second-round matches played.

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