Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak made a big step in her comeback from right forearm tendinitis Monday by beating Japan's Junri Namigata 6-1, 6-1 to reach the second round of the French Open.
The 23-year-old from Blainville, Que., is competing in her first Grand Slam since struggling with a muscle problem in a first-round loss at the U.S. Open last August.
"I'm really happy to win a round after qualifying." said Wozniak, who is ranked 162nd in the world. "Today means a lot. I'm looking forward to getting back after the long break and the injury.
"I had no matches on clay coming in to Roland Garros," said Wozniak, who had not competed on the dirt in a year prior to Monday. "It will take a lot for my game to improve, but I'm feeling better with each match."
The Canadian is set to face a huge challenge in the second round when she comes up against world No. 1 and top seed Caroline Wozniacki, who easily advanced with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Kimiko Date-Krumm.
"I have no pressure, she's world No. 1 and has been winning so many titles. We've played a lot but I have no expectations. I just want to go out and enjoy."
Standout Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., lost in his first main draw appearance at Roland Garros, going down in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat to German Michael Berrer.
Raonic, looking frustrated at his play, lost serve to trail 4-5 in the fourth set after sending a return wide. Berrer served his way into the second round a game later to love.
Raonic, ranked No. 27, made a breakthrough this year but has taken his lumps recently on clay. The 20-year-old lost opening matches in both Madrid and Rome on the surface after a semifinal in Estoril, Portugal, and third rounds at Monte Carlo and his training home of Barcelona.
Canadian men suffered a second defeat as Frank Dancevic lost a 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 battle against Italy's Simone Bolelli.
Dancevic, also a qualifier and ranked No. 174 from Niagara Falls, Ont., has yet to return to top form after undergoing back surgery in late 2009.
Dancevic had a career highlight in February when he reached the quarter-finals of an ATP event in South Africa but has been unable to sustain his early momentum.
He lost in his first two matches of the year in India and to Richard Gasquet at the Australian Open.
Wozniak needed 61 minutes to book her place in the second round on the clay, with the winner firing 25 winners and 18 unforced errors against Namigata. She broke on six of her ten chances.
Paris could be a turning point for Wozniak, where she reached a Grand Slam career-best of the fourth round in 2009 and lost in the third round a year ago. She won her only WTA title in Stanford, 2009.
"I need to find my game again, it's a slow process," she said. "I have a long way to go. Over the last three weeks I've had to adjust my grip to put less pressure on my forearm. It will take time to get it all perfect."