Sugiyama thwarted in 15th French Open quest
Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama saw her 15th appearance in the women's singles at the French Open come to an abrupt halt when she was beaten in the first round in Paris on Monday.
The 33-year-old rarely looked in contention against Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai and was beaten in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.
Sugiyama, the world number 37 and Japanese number one, exchanged breaks with Rezai in the early skirmishes before being broken again in game eight to give her 22-year-old opponent a 5-3 lead.
The nimble Rezai, who won her first career title in Strasbourg last week, sealed the first set when Sugiyama netted a crosscourt backhand and she broke twice in the second set en route to a comfortable victory.
"I didn't play well today," Sugiyama said. "She won the tournament in Strasbourg and she's playing really good tennis and is in good shape. I didn't play aggressively at all and I wasn't sharp enough.
"I didn't feel good from the first set. She was always dominating the game and I was hitting the ball too short and always giving her a chance."
It was Sugiyama's second loss to Rezai at Roland Garros, having previously been eliminated by her in the second round of the 2006 tournament.
Despite the defeat, Sugiyama refuses to contemplate retirement.
"Will I be back next year? I hope so," she said.