2016 champion Garbine Muguruza inaugurated the new court Simonne Mathieu with a first-round victory, describing the semi-sunken 5,000-seater as a ‘cosy’ place.
Situated within a botanical garden at the East end of Roland Garros, the court is cocooned by greenhouses featuring rare tropical plants.
“It’s a cute court. It’s in a very different place. You don’t feel like you are around a court. It’s like in a garden,” Muguruza said.
Some top players, however, will not get much chance to enjoy the new stadium, with former world number ones Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams sent packing along with former winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Opening proceedings on Chatrier, Germany’s Kerber was downed in two short sets by Russia’s Anastasia Potapova as her attempt at completing a career slam was cut short on her least favourite surface.
Fifth seed Angelique Kerber was knocked out in the opening round 6-4, 6-2 by Russia’s Anastasia Potapova, who is in the main draw for the first time.
Potapova took 73 minutes to dismantle her opponent for the first top-10 victory of her career.
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams was also eliminated in straight sets by Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, the ninth seed and one of a dozen contenders for the Suzanne Lenglen Cup.
Williams, 38, had 34 unforced errors and lost seven break points to hand the ninth-seeded Ukrainian an easy 6-3, 6-3 victory in 73 minutes.
Second seed Karolina Pliskova eased past American Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-3 to book her passage to the second round.
Brengle was no match for the Czech, who had 36 winners and won seven of eight break points to stamp her authority on the American.
Slovak qualifier Kristina Kucova reached the second round of the French Open for the first time with a 6-4, 6-2 win over former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Although Kuznetsova hit 24 winners to Kucova’s 18, the Russian made 25 unforced errors to bow out in the opening round.
In the women’s draw, second seed Karolina Pliskova and seventh seed Sloane Stephens eased into round two.