BRITISH No1 Anne Keovathong admits she will have to swallow a few jokes after her French Open debut ended swiftly with a humbling 6-0, 6-0 defeat to top seed Dinara Safina.
The Londoner’s thrashing was the start of a miserable day for British women at Roland Garros, with Katie O’Brien and Melanie South both falling at the first hurdle – the latter to a 16-year-old qualifier.
Keothavong was the highest-profile casualty, having broken back into the world’s top 50 with an encouraging clay-court display in Warsaw last week, and the 25-year-old was blown away by in-form Safina.
“I am not going to walk out of here and slit my wrists. She is the No1 player in the world and she can do that to anyone. Unfortunately, it was me today,” she said. “In the end, you have to find ways to laugh about it. I’m sure there will be a few jokes about it but I can take it. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. These things happen; you have to move on and forget about it.”
South swept to the first set without losing a game and even served for the match before crumbling to Portuguese prodigy Michelle Larcher de Brito 0-6, 7-6, (7-5), 7-5.
British interest in the women’s draw ended when O’Brien was beaten 6-1, 6-1 by Belarussian world No78 Olga Govortsova.
In the men’s draw, champion Rafael Nadal and world No2 Roger Federer both progressed from round one with straight-sets wins over Marcos Daniel and Albert Martin.
British No1 Andy Murray faces Italy’s Potito Starace in round two tomorrow.