French Open: Shuttler Carolina Marin wins first match

Paris: Spanish badminton star Carolina Marin kicked off her 2017 French Open campaign with a 21-17, 21-18 victory over Japan’s Minatsu Mitani.

Mitani took a 16-12 lead at Stade Pierre de Coubertin here when Marin missed two consecutive smashes, but the world No. 4 reeled off nine of the next 10 points and clinched the first game when the Japanese player netted a return of serve on Wednesday, reports Efe.

The Spaniard got off to a better start in the second game, grabbing an 11-6 lead at the mid-game interval and then extending that advantage to 19-10 when Mitani sent a smash wide.

Marin took her foot off the gas as Mitani saved five straight match points to make the score 20-18, but the 2016 Olympic gold medallist clinched the first-round victory when the Japanese player netted a drop shot.

Next up for Marin in the second round will be 32nd-ranked South Korean Lee Jang-mi, a 21-14, 14-21, 21-10 winner over Japan’s Sayaka Sato.

Marin, winner of the French Open in 2015, has been drawn in the tough top half of the women’s singles draw, which also includes Chinese defending champion He Bingjiao, Taiwanese world No. 1 and top seed Tai Tzu-ying and Thai world No. 9 Ratchanok Intanon, winner of last week’s Denmark Open.

In men’s singles action on Wednesday, second-seeded South Korean Son Wan-ho, the world No. 2, was stunned in the first round by Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus 21-16, 21-19.