Victoria Azarenka suffered a surprise first-round exit to Katerina Siniakova at the French Open, to become the latest high-profile casualty at Roland Garros.
Azarenka, competing in her first Grand Slam tournament since last year’s Wimbledon, slipped to a 7-5 7-5 defeat against world No. 54 Siniakova in a topsy-turvy tussle on Monday.
The former world No 1 had never faced Siniakova before, but the 22-year-old Czech rose to the occasion to secure her first main draw win at Roland Garros.
Both players were largely dominant on serve in a fiercely contested opening set, but Siniakova broke to love in the 12th game to claim the opening set 7-5.
However, the second set followed a very different pattern. Azarenka secured an instant break to kick off the second set, but she could not cement this advantage after relinquishing her serve in the very next game.
With the scores locked at two apiece in the second, the pair then traded four successive breaks of serve in an extraordinary passage of play, with Azarenka unable to capitalise on the opportunities she continued to create.
Siniakova then edged into a 6-5 advantage and for the second set in succession, she broke to love to complete the biggest victory of her career.
Azarenka’s hopes had been given a boost following the departure of defending champion Jelena Ostapenko on Sunday, who she had been due to face in the second round.
Nevertheless, the two-time Grand Slam winner was punished for an erratic display in which she committed 38 unforced errors.
Siniakova will now face world No. 66 Kateryna Kozlova for a place in the last 32, after the Ukrainian accounted for Ostapenko in Sunday’s first round.