Former champion Li ousted at French Open


The Sports Network

Paris, France ( - The surprises continued Tuesday at the French Open.

A day after men's Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka was eliminated in the first round, the women's winner in Melbourne was shown an early exit at Roland Garros as France's Kristina Mladenovic knocked out second-seeded Li Na in three sets.

Mladenovic sent the 2011 French Open champ home with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 win on Court Lenglen.

This marks the first time in history that both the men's and women's Grand Slam singles champions have lost in the first round at the next major.

Li had a strong start to 2014 when she followed a victory in the season-opener in Shenzhen with a triumph at the year's first major championship back in January. She was also was the runner-up in Miami, but had played only two of the French Open tune-up events and was a quarterfinal loser in both Madrid and Rome.

It was the third straight early exit at Roland Garros for Li, who lost in the fourth round as the defending champ in 2012 and fell in the second round last year. Other than her championship run in 2011, Li has never been past the fourth round in seven other French Open appearances, including Tuesday's ouster.

She is the first reigning women's Aussie Open champ in 14 years to lose in the first round at the French (Lindsay Davenport, 2000).

Fourth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania had no trouble Tuesday in a 6-0, 6-2 rout of Russia's Alisa Kleybanova. Halep, a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open, had won just one match in her previous three trips to the French Open.

Other early women's winners Tuesday included 2009 French champ Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, Romania's Sorana Cirstea and Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The 27th-seeded Kuznetsova, also the French runner-up in 2006, eased past Sofia Shapatava of Georgia, 6-3, 6-1, while the 26th-seeded Cirstea advanced past Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak in three sets and the 24th-seeded Pavlyuchenkova did the same against 43-year-old Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm.

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