Boulter and Evans exits leave no British players standing at Roland Garros

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A miserable tournament for Great Britain’s singles players at the French Open came to an end on Tuesday night as difficult defeats for Katie Boulter and Dan Evans meant that British players have failed to win a singles match in Paris for the first time since 2020.

Shortly after Evans was outclassed 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 by the 13th seed Holger Rune in their well-contested first‑round match, Katie Boulter put herself in position to record a stellar win against the former world No 2 Paula Badosa before narrowly losing 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in an excellent battle on Tuesday night. With their defeats, British players in the men’s and women’s singles draws finished with a 0-6 record at the French Open this year.

“Honestly, I can’t speak for the others,” Boulter said. “I can only speak for myself and I’ve worked so hard to be in this position and I’ve just lost out in the finest of margins. Ultimately, I’ve done the best that I can and I will keep doing the very best that I can and put my heart on the line every single match I can play.”

Additionally, this is only the fourth time in the 21st century that no British male player has managed to reach the second round in the French Open. “It’s just been a bit of a tough tourna­ment I think,” Evans said. “I think we’re actually in the best spot we’ve been in with the clay for a long time. I think Draper will win a lot of matches here, everywhere. I just think it’s a bit of not a great tournament. It’s just how it’s panned out. We got loads of doubles players though.”

After his defeat, which pushed him to 3-13 on the ATP this year, Evans described himself as “fed up with the umpires, flat full stop” after a second umpiring controversy in as many tournaments following an umpiring mistake during his match against Fabio Fognini in Rome.

This time Rune and the umpire, Jaume Campistol, argued with Evans as he led 4-2, 15-15 on his serve in the third set. Evans lost the subsequent three points, allowing Rune imme­diately to break back, and he lost four games in a row to lose the match.

“The match was flowing great and then fucking just stopped in the middle and I don’t understand what the umpire’s … but anyway, that’s not the reason I lost and that’s just part of the issue, part of the problem, but he’ll be back in work again tomorrow,” Evans said. “On the whole the umpiring is good. The clay is a difficult surface. But definitely having a conversation on somebody else’s serve, you don’t see it in any other sport. In rugby they get 10 metres or whatever, squash you’re not allowed, it’s no talking. We just sit there and have a conversation. We’ve seen many cases of it.”

Dan Evans stretches for the ball.View image in fullscreen

Evans will remain in Paris to join Andy Murray in the doubles as the first non‑French pair to receive a men’s doubles wildcard in 20 years, and Boulter will pair with Heather Watson as they face Chan Hao-ching and Veronika Kudermetova on Wednesdaytoday.

Roland Garros had to wave a third emotional farewell in three days after Alizé Cornet lost her first-round match. Sales of tissues must have rocketed in Paris after the ­departure of Murray on Sunday, and then the 14-time champion Rafael ­Nadal’s goodbye 24 hours later. The popular Frenchwoman Cornet announced last month that she would be retiring after this year’s home tournament.

The 34-year-old former world No 11, who twice made the fourth round at Roland Garros, was granted a wild card and a spot on Court Philippe Chatrier for what she described as “the last dance”. She bowed out of her 20th French Open, and her 72nd appearance at a grand slam tournament, with a 6-2, 6-1 defeat against the ­seventh seed, Zheng Qinwen.

Cornet, who played her first French Open aged 15, said: “It’s been a difficult day with a lot of emotion. It’s a 20-year page that I’m turning and I’m going to a new chapter in my life. I wish I could have played better, but I gave everything I could to this sport.”

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Elsewhere, Casper Ruud and Aryna Sabalenka shone brightly on a cold, rainy day in Paris as they moved into the second round with dominant victories but spectators at Roland Garros were largely starved of action beyond the show courts.

With the weather preventing any chance of play on the outer courts before 4pm local time, the proceedings were limited to the two main show courts – Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen – both of which have retractable roofs.

The two-time runner-up Ruud swept aside the Brazilian qualifier Felipe Alves 6-3, 6-4, 6-3, in a renewed bid for a maiden grand slam title in Paris after disappointments in the previous two years.

Sabalenka was equally quick as last year’s semi-finalist, who is eyeing a second major of the season after her successful Australian Open defence in January, mowed down the Russian teenager Erika Andreeva in 68 minutes 6-1, 6-2.

The fourth seed, Elena Rybakina, overcame an early wobble to glide past Greet Minnen 6-2, 6-3 earlier in the day, showing no signs of the illness that had hampered her preparations for the year’s second major.


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