French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko’s preparations in the run-up to the claycourt major hit the skids in the first round of the Madrid Open on Saturday as she was beaten 6-3 6-3 by unseeded Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.
The Latvian has failed to scale the same heights she reached last year when she emerged out of nowhere to conquer Roland Garros.
But if the 20-year-old harbours any hopes of repeating that run in Paris later this month, she will have to make a vast improvement on Saturday’s error-filled performance.
Joining her at the exit was American Venus Williams, a runner-up in Madrid in 2010. She was beaten 3-6 6-3 6-2 by Estonian Anett Kontaveit.
World number four Elina Svitolina and former world number one Karolina Pliskova, however, eased to victories.
Ukrainian Svitolina, the fourth seed, struck 28 winners and lost her serve just once as she brushed Alize Cornet aside for a 6-2 6-2 victory.
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