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Tennis: Hingis leads good start for Swiss players at the French Open

Martina Hingis is off to a smashing start to this year's French Open. Keystone

The women's world number one, Martina Hingis, is aiming high at the Roland Garros tennis tournament. On Monday, she beat her first round opponent, Sabine Appelmans, 6-0. 6-4.

The 19 year-old Swiss star lost only eight points in the first set to the Belgian, and won the match in 52 minutes.

Hingis has made no secret of her ambition to win the only Grand Slam trophy she has not yet won.

Having reached the finals in Paris on two occasions already, no-one doubts that she can do it. However, her petulant bahaviour at last year’s final, when she lost to Germany’s Steffi Graf, is also still fresh in the memory.

Hingis took the first set and was leading two-nil in the second when she lost a disputed call. After that, her game seemed to fall to pieces and she lost 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Hingis was not the only Swiss success story at this first day of the French hard court tournament.

There was a surprise victory for Emmanuelle Gagliardi. Unfortunately it came at the expense of fellow Swiss player, Patty Schnyder as the two were drawn against each other in the first round.

Schnyder was the Swiss miss who missed out. The country’s number two seed was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by her Federation cup team-mate.

In the men’s game, Michel Kratochvil won his first match in a Grand Slam tournament. He beat the US player, Justin Gimelstob, in a tough-fought match.

The Swiss Davis Cup team player took the opening set 6-4 before losing the second in a tie-break 6-7. But he bounced back to take the next two sets 6-3, 6-1 to book his place in the next round.

The 20-year old from Berne had to make it through three qualifying rounds last week before his match with Gimelstob, who’s ranked 40 places higher in the ATP listings at 92.

Kratochvil will now face the Bulgarian, Orlin Stanoytchev, in the second round.

Roger Federer is also through to the second round after defeating Australia’s Wayne Arthurs – also in four sets.·

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR