Former world No1 Safina, now seeded ninth after falling down the rankings, continued her miserable 2010 with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 defeat to Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm, who only returned to the circuit in 2008 after 12 years out of the game.
Safina, 24, finished runner-up here in each of the last two years but now finds herself in the biggest slump of her career after losing six of her 11 matches so far this season.
“I’ll not give up,” the Russian vowed. “I’ll have to swallow this loss and keep moving. I’ve been in worse situations. That’s life. After the rain, the sun always shines.”
Meanwhile, Justine Henin won her first match back at Roland Garros since winning the 2007 event with a straight sets victory over Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova.
The 27-year-old Belgian, who ended her 20-month retirement from the game in January, came through 6-4, 6-3.
British interest, however, ended yesterday after Katie O’Brien went down in three sets to American veteran Jill Craybas.
The British No3 went down 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 in a topsy-turvy two hours and five minutes, and admitted: “I just made too many errors.”
No problems for imperious Nadal
WORLD No2 Rafael Nadal, aiming for a record sixth French Open title, cruised into the second round with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory over French wildcard Gianni Mina.
The Spaniard was made to work by the talented 18-year-old before wrapping up victory in two hours. He now takes on Argentine Horacio Zeballos in round two.
Sixth seed Andy Roddick came from behind to beat Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen in five sets, 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (4-6), 6-3.