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Katie Boulter makes it six and out as no Briton makes it beyond French Open first round

Katie Boulter - Katie Boulter makes it six and out as no Briton makes it past French Open first round
Katie Boulter was ahead in her match against Paula Badosa but ultimately became the sixth Briton to fall at the first hurdle at Roland Garros - Getty Images/Robert Prange

Great Britain’s singles involvement in Paris came to a sorry end on Tuesday night, as Katie Boulter threw away a winning position to leave the collective tally at zero wins from six attempts. Six and out, a cricketer might say, with all the batters back in the hutch.

It has been a woeful showing, although not a particularly unusual one. In fact, this was the fourth time in the 21st Century – after 2007, 2013 and 2020 – that Britain has failed to send a player through to the second round of the French Open.

And it was hardly out of context either. Since the tour moved off hard courts at the end of March, red clay has delivered a British bloodbath, with 10 players clocking up 40 matches and delivering a feeble tally of 12 victories between them.

Looking specifically at Paris, Boulter’s defeat was probably the most painful of the lot, as she had held a 6-4. 4-2 lead over former world No.2 Paula Badosa. She then donated her next service game via four unforced errors, and ended up going down by a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 scoreline.

“I’m sitting here right now with a little bit of a heavy heart because it was an absolute battle,” Boulter said afterwards. “I gave it everything and she played better than me, it’s that simple.”

Katie Boulter
Boulter said the reason for her defeat was that Badosa 'played better than me, it's that simple' - Getty Images/Mateo Villalba

Asked about the ugly overall picture, Boulter replied “I can’t speak for the others. I’ve worked so hard to be in this position and I’ve just lost out in the finest of margins. I’ve done the very best that I can.”

Earlier on Tuesday evening, Dan Evans had suffered a straight-sets defeat at the hands of 13th seed Holger Rune, getting into a feisty exchange with the chair umpire along the way.

The row didn’t seem to help Evans, as he didn’t win another game after expressing his feelings, and allowed a 4-2 lead in the third set to slip away. Afterwards, he admitted that the incident had broken his rhythm, while also hinting that more famous players tend to be favoured by officials.

Dan Evans against Holger Rune
Dan Evans was the final British man to fail to exit the French Open first round as he fell to Holger Rune in straight sets - Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

“I’m fed up with the umpires, flat full stop,” said Evans, who had also been on the wrong end of a particularly rough decision at the most recent Masters 1000 event in Rome, and then collected a fine for his protests to boot.

“Remember they [the top players] do pretty much exactly the same as we do when we all wake up in the morning. They are humans and I think some of them [the umpires] forget that. We saw many, many examples of that.”

Evans and Rune are two of the livelier characters on the tour, neither afraid to have their say, and it was hardly a surprise when a series of disagreements erupted in the middle of the third set.

First Rune remonstrated with chair umpire Jaume Campistol after receiving a code violation for banging his racket on the court, and then he got into an argument about a line call on his own baseline.

Then, at the next change of ends, Evans laid into Campistol for not keeping the match flowing. “He doesn’t need a conversation on my serve,” said Evans. “Let the f---king match play.

“Do your job,” Evans continued. “It’s twice in two games. You have a duty to keep the match flowing and you’re having a conversation with him. A long one. Two long ones. Madness.”

Dan Evans - Dan Evans lashes out at umpire after straight-sets defeat as British misery continues
Dan Evans was frustrated by the umpire not letting the match flow during his defeat to Holger Rune

Later, Evans explained that “I’m waiting to serve. It’s freezing on the court. The match was flowing great and then f---ing just stopped in the middle and I don’t understand what the umpire’s... but anyway, that’s not the reason I lost and that’s just part of the issue, part of the problem, but he’ll be back in work again tomorrow.”

A win over Rune – a 21-year-old Dane who had reached the quarter-finals on both his previous French Open appearances – was always going to be a big ask for Evans. He came in on an extended losing streak, having entered five ATP clay-court events since the start of April without scoring a single victory.

Indeed, the phrase “wing and a prayer” came to mind on Court Suzanne Lenglen, partly because the only respite from Rune’s pounding groundstrokes came from a group of pigeons who had got stuck inside the stadium when the roof closed.

The avian interlopers stopped play on a couple of occasions, and even dive-bombed Evans at one stage early in the second set. What with Rune also pinging passing shots past his outstretched racket, he must have felt like a man under attack.

The 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 scoreline reflected a significant disparity in firepower. Evans can hurry certain opponents by coming forward and using his net skills, but he can’t match the taller and burlier Rune for ball-speed off the ground.

Dan Evans
Evans departs and now has the doubles with Andy Murray to focus on - Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

The conditions in Paris this week are favouring those with more gusto on their shots. They are the only ones who can overcome the sluggish conditions and hit through their opponents. Rune proved the point by smacking a healthy 44 clean winners in the match - almost one-and-a-half per game - while Evans managed only 21.

“Another tough match,” said Evans. “I played well. But the little things which when you’re not winning, which are not flowing, it’s difficult and that little disruption at 4-2 in the third threw me a bit, when if you’re winning matches you may not be thrown off a bit, and be able to handle that. It’s frustrating.”

As for the wider picture, Evans said “It’s just been a bit of a tough tournament I think. You go round the tour and it’s difficult isn’t it? It can go both ways.”


Rune downs Evans – as it happened


08:16 PM BST

No more British men in the singles

They’ve all fallen at the first hurdle with Andy Murray and Jack Draper departing on Sunday, Norrie yesterday, and now Evans today...

Dan Evans
It's not been a great Roland Garros for the British men - Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

08:11 PM BST

EVANS BEATEN 4-6, 4-6, 4-6

Evans is wide with a backhand down the line with the first point, but next up he whips in a cracking forehand to level things at 15-15. The Briton isn’t making it easy for Rune as he then chips and charges, rushing Rune who hits a long backhand. At 15-30 Rune finds his composure closing the the net at first opportunity before playing a deft volley for the point.

From there there’s a peach of forehand winner and Rune has a match point. But Evans then knifes a backhand he takes so early and it’s deuce. But from there a big first serve and the Dane has a second match point and that’s enough as the Briton mishits and Evans’ French Open in the singles is over.


08:03 PM BST

Evans 4-6, 4-6, 4-5 Rune*

Problems for Evans here as Rune pushes him back and finishes with a forehand volley winner, 15-30. Good pressure from Evans to go on the attack himself and force the error from Rune, 30-30.

Biggest point of the match coming up I think...

Double fault by Evans. Careless from the Briton at the worst possible time. Rune break point.

Rune forehand winner. Rune breaks and will serve for the match next.


08:00 PM BST

Evans* 4-6, 4-6, 4-4 Rune

Now Evans is the frustrated player. He thinks the umpire should have handled Rune better. A Rune forehand into the net makes it 30-30.

Massive first serve down the T by Rune is unreturned by Evans. Good defence by Evans to dig deep and stay in the point and Rune nets a backhand, deuce.

Rune gets himself level with another hold.


07:54 PM BST

Evans 4-6, 4-6, 4-3 Rune*

Rune is rattled here. He’s now upset about a tight call after the umpire overrules the linesperson.

He responds with a 15th forehand winner to move to 15-30. Then an Evans forehand clips the net cord and the ball flies wide. Two break back points for Rune.

And Rune shows his class, finishing the rally with a forehand volley winner to break straight back.


07:49 PM BST

Evans* 4-6, 4-6, 4-2 Rune

Hmmmm. Rune frames a couple of forehands. The second of which leads to Rune angrily hitting his racket on the court. He is given a code violation for his action and he is not happy about it. Two break points for Evans. Big chance here.

Rune saves the first with his seventh ace of the match. Rune forehand long and Evans breaks for the first time in the match.

Complete loss of focus and concentration from Rune.

Dan Evans vs Holger Rune score and latest first-round updates
Dan Evans reacts after winning a point - Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

07:44 PM BST

Evans 4-6, 4-6, 3-2 Rune*

A definite lull in this match as both players hold serve with ease. Not much for the fans to get excited about.


07:39 PM BST

Evans* 4-6, 4-6, 2-2 Rune

Serve has largely dominated this match and once again Rune completes a straightforward service hold.


07:35 PM BST

Evans 4-6, 4-6, 2-1 Rune*

A defiant shake of the racket by Evans as he holds to love. He still believes he can get back into this...


07:33 PM BST

Evans* 4-6, 4-6, 1-1 Rune

Another Rune service game goes by Evans with troubling the server. The Norweigan has just been too good today.

Dan Evans vs Holger Rune score and latest first-round updates
Holger Rune reacts - Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

07:29 PM BST

Third Set: Evans 4-6, 4-6, 1-0 Rune* (*denotes next server)

This is obviously a must win set for Evans. And he shows good body language as he holds to 15 confidently. He now needs to find a way to break the Rune serve.


07:21 PM BST

Evans* 4-6, 4-6 Rune

Evans gets a look at a forehand pass but the ball goes agonisingly into the net, 15-15. Backhand by Rune is called out. He asks the umpire to look at the mark but the result stays the same, 30-30. Huge point coming up now...

Evans gets a look at a second serve, Rune comes to the net after a mis-hit forehand and Evans passes him with a cross court forehand, 30-40. Break point Evans...

Wow. 187 km/h second serve ace by Rune. That was brave and brilliant but the young Norweigan. Evans can’t believe it caught the line.

Set point Rune after his forehand pass is too much for Evans at the net. Rune on the attack, getting Evans on the back foot and he finishes the set with an overhead smash winner.


07:15 PM BST

Evans 4-6, 4-5 Rune*

Evans does what he needs to do and forces Rune to serve for the second set after a comfortable hold.

Rune has shown very few nerves so far.

Dan Evans vs Holger Rune score and latest first-round updates
Daniel Evans serves to Holger Rune - Shutterstock/Mohammed Badra

07:11 PM BST

Evans* 4-6, 3-5 Rune

Opportunity for Evans here after two uncharacteristic errors from Rune make it deuce. Rune catches the sideline with a backhand down the line. He couldn’t have hit it any better.

Evans gets a drop shot wrong and Rune moves a game away from a two-set lead.


07:02 PM BST

Evans 4-6, 3-4 Rune*

Good volley by Evans but an even better forehand pass by Rune, 30-30. Evans has clearly decided he has to attack the net as often as possible and volley winner makes it 40-30.

Rune forehand long and Evans hangs on to hold serve and keep his hopes alive.


06:57 PM BST

Evans* 4-6, 2-4 Rune

Evans is digging in here after dropping his serve in the previous game. He forces Rune to 30-30. He then gets a look at a second serve but sends his forehand return long. Big error that.

Mis-hit by Evans catches the baseline and Rune miscues a forehand long. Deuce. Rune keeps his nerve to consolidate the break and extend his lead with a forehand winner.


06:50 PM BST

Evans 4-6, 2-3 Rune*

Brilliant defence by Rune, he puts up a great lob which Evans connects well with but the ball goes straight to where Rune is standing and he drills a backhand winner into the open court, 0-15.

Serve and volley again from Evans and he finishes coolly with a backhand into the corner, 15-30. Evans forehand long, two break points.

Evans saves the first with an overhead winner. One more to go...

Lob by Evans is just a fraction too strong and the ball lands on the wrong side of the baseline. Rune breaks.


06:46 PM BST

Evans* 4-6, 2-2 Rune

Evans is trying to mix things up and attack the net more. He knows he can’t beat Rune from the back of the court. But with more risk comes more errors and that allows Rune to hold to love.


06:43 PM BST

Evans 4-6, 2-1 Rune*

Another love hold for Evans and we stay on serve in the second set. Atmosphere is a bit muted. The crowd haven’t had too much to get excited about despite the decent level of tennis on show.

Dan Evans vs Holger Rune score and latest first-round updates
Daniel Evans plays a shot against Holger Rune - AP/Christophe Ena

06:40 PM BST

Evans* 4-6, 1-1 Rune

After digging deep in the last game, Evans builds on that momentum, rushing Rune into a couple of errors to earn his first break point of the match.

And he nearly gets the break with an audacious forehand passing shot on the run but the ball hits the net to the relief of Rune.

As we pass the one-hour mark, Rune holds on again.


06:35 PM BST

Second Set: Evans 4-6, 1-0 Rune* (*denotes next server)

Confidence is flowing through Rune, who is playing very well now. He earns three break points with a lovely overhead backhand smash winner.

Evans saves the first break point. Then the second with a 192 km/h ace. One more to save... which he does. More net brilliance from Evans as he hits the most delicate drop forehand volley. Deuce.

You get the sense this is a very important game for Evans to hold serve. But he faces another break point when he hits a forehand long.

Gutsy serve and volley by Evans behind a second serve. He asks Rune to pass him on the backhand side and he nets. Back to deuce.

Evans duly comes through the game to hold serve. Can he build some momentum from this?


06:24 PM BST

Evans* 4-6 Rune

Evans covers the net superbly and digs a brilliant backhand volley which Rune can’t return, 15-15.

Composed tennis by Rune to keep his nerve at the net and finish with an overhead smash winner, set point. Evans backhand return drifts wide and Rune takes the opening set.

Dan Evans vs Holger Rune score and latest first-round updates
Holger Rune won the first set - Getty Images/Dimitar Dilkoff

06:20 PM BST

Evans 4-5 Rune*

Pressure on the Evans serve at 30-30 as he struggles to find his first serve in this game. He tries to serve and volley off his second serve but Rune forces him into a difficult volley and the ball travels long. Break point Rune.

Evans drop shot, Rune reaches it and slices a shot at Evans’ feet and he can’t react quickly enough. Rune breaks and will serve for the set.


06:13 PM BST

Evans* 4-4 Rune

Nice disguise by Rune to hit a second serve ace with Evans going the other way, 15-0. Two unreturned serves make it 40-0.

But Evans keeps himself in the game with a stunning forehand winner over the highest part of the net, 40-15. But Rune finishes the game with his own drop shot winner which Evans barely moves for.

Still no service breaks after 37 minutes of play.


06:10 PM BST

Evans 4-3 Rune*

18 stroke rally between the players, a real cat and mouse rally with plenty of slices and on this occasion Rune comes out on top, 40-30.

Evans blasts a forehand winner into the corner to hold.

Dan Evans vs Holger Rune score and latest first-round updates
Daniel Evans in action - Reuters/Gonzalo Fuente

06:04 PM BST

Evans* 3-3 Rune

Lovely drive backhand up the line by Evans is too hot for Rune. He can strike them when he wants to! First ace of the match for Rune, 30-15.

Excellent timing by Rune with a cross court backhand that flies away from Evans for a winner.


06:02 PM BST

Evans 3-2 Rune*

After a 15-minute service game last time around, Evans will be delighted to hold serve to love in double quick time. The 34-year-old is starting to settle into the match.


05:58 PM BST

Evans* 2-2 Rune

Rune is not enjoying being dragged into the forecourt by Evans’ sliced backhand. He misjudges an approach to the net and Evans puts away an overhead smash, 30-30.

Big serving by Rune and he finishes the game with a forehand winner to hold.

Dan Evans vs Holger Rune score and latest first-round updates
Holger Rune hits a forehand return - Getty Images/Dimitar Dilkoff

05:55 PM BST

Evans 2-1 Rune*

First double fault of the contest by Evans. He realises he needs to be aggressive with his second serve to keep Rune at bay.

A let off Evans as Rune puts a second serve return long, 40-30. But a second double fault takes the game to deuce. Pressure is now on.

All out attack from Rune as he gets Evans on the back foot and finishes with a forehand winner. First break point for Rune. And he squanders it by sending a return long.

Evans is hitting very few drive backhands, preferring to slice it and ask Rune to generate his own pace. The Briton is keeping the ball low and it is beginning to frustrate Rune.

A rare drive backhand from Evans sails long and it gives Rune a second break point. Longest rally of the match, Evans uses his forehand to go on the attack but then hits a sliced drop shot which drags Rune forward and he puts his forehand long, deuce. Gutsy play by Evans.

Relief for Evans as he holds when Rune nets a backhand return. Evans will hope all of his service games aren’t that hard to get through.


05:41 PM BST

Evans* 1-1 Rune

Very strong service game from Rune as he holds to love very quickly. The Norweigan is striking the ball very cleanly at this stage of the match.


05:40 PM BST

First Set: Dan Evans 1-0 Holger Rune* (*denotes next server)

For his confidence, Evans needs to start well and stand his ground against the attack minded Rune. First extended rally of the match sees Evans get pushed deeper and deeper and forced to defend with his sliced backhand but he leaves the ball short and Rune whips a cross court forehand winner into the corner.

A backhand return error by Rune and Evans holds serve.


05:31 PM BST

Here we go!

Evans, the lower ranked player, is introduced onto court first for a home reception and he is then followed by Rune, in his trademark backward cap.

Rune wins the coin toss and opts to receive first. Pressure on Evans to start well.


05:20 PM BST

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04:55 PM BST

Dan Evans looking to find form and confidence

Hello and welcome to coverage from the French Open as Daniel Evans gets his campaign underway against Holger Rune.

This is the first meeting between the two players and both come into the match in search of form and confidence.

Evans has failed to get past the first round in his past five ATP Tour level tournaments and recently dropped to the Challenger Tour to gain confidence. But he was beaten by 19-year-old Shang Juncheng from China in the quarter-finals.

Earlier this month, Evans split from coach Sebastian Prieto for the second time after a breakdown in their relationship.

Rune remains one of the best young talents on the ATP Tour but has also been struggling this year for results and consistency.

With Andy Murray, Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie already out there will be hope at the LTA that at least one British man makes it past the first round. Evans is the last hope, and on the women’s side the last hope is Katie Boulter, who faces Paula Badosa later this evening. Two poor results and it would mean all of Britain’s singles interest over before the first Tuesday is over.

Elsewhere today, fourth seed Elena Rybakina beat Belgium’s Greet Minnen 6-2 6-3, overcoming a late fightback to ease through to the second round. Australian Open finalist Zheng Qinwen beat crowd favourite Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-1 in the Frenchwoman’s 20th and final appearance at Roland Garros.

It was a good day for second seed Aryna Sabalenka, who breezed into the second round thanks to her 6-1, 6-2 demolition job on Erika Andreeva. The highly rated Russian teenager will have to put this defeat down to experience, she simply had no answer to the Belarusian this afternoon.

Norwegian seventh seed Casper Ruud, French Open runner-up in the last two years, beat Brazilian qualifier Felipe Alves 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the second round.

And last year’s quarter-finalist Tomas Etcheverry beat Frenchman Arthur Cazaux 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.

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