Ladies leading on clay in 2019
Former champ Muguruza survives in three; fifth seed Kerber departs in first round.
No.19 seed Garbine Muguruza survived a tough opening-round encounter against Taylor Townsend at Roland-Garros on Sunday, yet fellow major champion Angelique Kerber fell at the first hurdle.
Muguruza, the 2016 winner in Paris, was out of sorts in the first set before recovering to beat the American 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 in the first official match on the new Court Simonne-Mathieu.
Kerber, meanwhile, fell 6-4, 6-2 to Russian rising star Anastasia Potapova, the continuation of a forgettable clay-court season for the German.
Kerber struggled with a right ankle injury in the lead-up to Roland-Garros and had played just three matches on clay before coming face-to-face with Potapova in the first match of the day on the remodelled Court Philippe-Chatrier.
It is the third time in her last four visits to Paris that Kerber has exited at the first hurdle.
Muguruza and Potapova joined 31st seed Petra Martic in the second round; the in-form Croatian won her 12th match on clay thanks to a 6-1, 6-2 dismissal of 2011 junior champion Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.
In the men's draw, 11th seed Marin Cilic got his campaign off to a strong start with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 defeat of Italian Thomas Fabbiano on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
Cilic, who was just 8-8 in 2019 and had slipped to world No.13 coming into the match, will play the winner of the match between former top-10 stars Grigor Dimitrov and Janko Tipsarevic.
Dimitrov won the first two sets on Court No.1, while No.6 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is also enjoying a healthy lead in his opener against Maximilian Marterer. Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin sank home hopes with a four-set victory over French world No.61 Ugo Humbert.
In another result, Norwegian Casper Ruud swatted aside former world No.10 and 2014 Roland-Garros semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 7-6(2), 6-0 in just over two hours.