Heather Watson is the only British female singles player to have progressed past the opening stage of the 2016 French Open. The 24-year-old took three sets to dispatch America's Nicole Gibbs yesterday (23 May), but has been left to carry the flag alone against Svetlana Kuznetsova after Johanna Konta and Laura Robson both suffered early exits on Tuesday to follow Naomi Broady's first-round defeat to Coco Vandeweghe.
Australian-born Konta has enjoyed a remarkable rise to a career-high 21 in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings and became the first British woman to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam before succumbing to eventual champion Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open. She also reached the fourth round of the US Open in 2015 and booked her place at Roland Garros for the first time last year.
Looking to build on that showing this time around and seeded 20th, she was comprehensively outplayed by Julia Goerges en route to a heavy 6-2, 6-3 defeat. Her German opponent smashed 15 winners during a hugely impressive first set showing and broke at the third time of asking in the sixth game of the second before serving out the match.
Robson, meanwhile, has dropped to 329th in the world after a two-year struggle with wrist injuries and used her protected ranking of 58 to secure a place in the main draw. Facing right-handed clay specialist Andrea Petkovic, who reached the last four in 2014, the Olympic silver medallist and former British number one was broken four times as she was comfortably eliminated 6-2, 6-2.
Earlier in the day, Andy Murray resumed his match against Radek Stepanek trailing by two sets to one and had to serve to stay in the tournament before eventually seeing off the 37-year-old Czech qualifier in dramatic circumstances to book a second-round clash with Mathias Bourge. Aljaz Bedene also recovered from an early deficit to defeat Gerald Melzer, while Kyle Edmund thwarted Nikoloz Basilashvili on Monday (23 May). They will face Pablo Carreno Busta and John Isner respectively in the next round.
Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal made light work of Australia's Sam Groth; Novak Djokovic eased past Yen-Hsun Lu in straight sets and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Jan-Lennard Struff. Third seed Kerber became the biggest casualty of the first round when she was ousted by Kiki Bertens. There were also wins for Tomas Berdych, Victoria Azarenka, Venus Williams, Ana Ivanovic, David Ferrer, John Isner and Carla Suarez Navarro. Defending champion Serena Williams is in action tonight against Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.