Stunner! Defending French Open champ Ostapenko out on Day 1

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PARIS (AP) A year after stunning the tennis world by winning the French Open for the first tour title of her career, Jelena Ostapenko is again in rare company: a first-round loser as the defending champion at a Grand Slam tournament.

Ostapenko’s high-risk game produced far fewer rewards than problems Sunday at Roland Garros, and she bowed out to 67th-ranked Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine 7-5, 6-3 at Court Philippe Chatrier.

The result made Ostapenko only the second reigning women’s champion to exit in the first round of the French Open a year later – it happened to 2005 winner Anastasia Myskina, too – and only the sixth at any major tournament in the professional era.

“I didn’t expect anything from this match,” Kozlova said in an on-court interview. “It’s just an amazing feeling.”

Hers was not the only significant surprise of Day 1.

Seven-time major champion Venus Williams was beaten 6-4, 7-5 by 85th-ranked Wang Qiang of China. Add that to the ninth-seeded Williams’ loss at the Australian Open in January, and this is the only time in the 37-year-old American’s career that she was sent home in the first round of back-to-back majors.

In 2017, ranked only 47th and 20 years old, Ostapenko became the first woman since 1979 to win her initial tour-level trophy at a Grand Slam tournament.

But the Latvian has had a rough road this season: Her record is just 12-12.

Kozlova, meanwhile, is 24 and arrived at Roland Garros with an even worse mark for 2018 – 4-6.

In her only previous appearance in the main draw in Paris, last year, she lost in the first round. Overall, she had won one of seven matches at any Grand Slam site.

And against the No. 5-seeded Ostapenko, Kozlova earned the first victory of her career against someone ranked in the top 30.

In many ways, Ostapenko was her own undoing.

She wound up with 48 unforced errors, more than twice as many as Kozlova, and that was more than enough to render Ostapenko’s 22-13 edge in winners irrelevant. Ostapenko allowed her opponent to convert 7 of 16 break points, including when a backhand landed in the net to end the match after about 1 1/2 hours.

Moments later, she was gone, swiftly heading to the locker room. Ostapenko raised her left hand to acknowledge the crowd’s applause, but she kept her eyes focused on the ground as she walked off.

Kozlova stayed steady despite the enormity of the moment and while dealing with a blister on the back of her right foot. She was treated by a trainer during a medical timeout after the first set.

“Actually, I have three blisters, but one was the worst, with blood,” Kozlova said afterward. “When you are playing the match, sometimes you are not feeling the pain. … I tried to stay focused.”

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Novak Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.