Kvitova pulls through French Open test

·2-min read

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has survived a big scare against Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen in her opening round of the French Open, having to save a match point en route to victory.

Kvitova, who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2012 and last year, struggled with her serve from the start and suffered service breaks in her first two games but managed to prevail 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.

The 11th seed fought back from her early wobbles to take the opening set to a tie-breaker under slightly windy conditions only to lose it by serving three double faults.

The Czech was down 30-40 at 6-5 in the second set and staring at a first-round exit at Roland Garros for the first time since 2010 but saved the match point with a crosscourt backhand winner and then levelled things in the tiebreaker.

Her confidence soared in the decider and she jumped to a 5-0 lead in no time, losing just three points on serve in the third set.

"I would say that from my side it wasn't really good from the beginning," the former world No.2 said.

"I was struggling, I was missing a lot, I was double faulting a lot.

"I didn't really feel myself that well. I was pretty tight. And, yeah, it was really tough. I mean, I was fighting not only with her but with myself as well.

"I'm glad that in the end I beat myself as well and beat her, so that counts."

Kvitova will next meet Russian Elena Vesnina, who strolled past Belarusian Olga Govortsova 6-1 6-0.

Angelique Kerber has won titles at the other three slams but her chances of completing the set appear remote after another early exit in Paris.

The German was beaten 6-2 6-4 by in-form qualifier Anhelina Kalinina, who has now won her past 14 matches.

Third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka is one of the most in-form players in the draw and she overcame former top-20 player Ana Konjuh, who is working her way back from serious elbow problems, 6-4 6-3.

A compelling battle of former slam champions was won 6-4 2-6 6-3 by 15th-seeded Victoria Azarenka against Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 major champion in Paris.

American Danielle Collins, who is back on tour after undergoing surgery for endometriosis, battled to a 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory over China's Wang Xiyu while Russian Elena Vesnina defeated Olga Govortsova 6-1 6-0 in her first singles match at a grand slam since taking maternity leave in 2018.

Other seeds to advance to the second round were Madison Keys, Elena Rybakina, Veronika Kudermetova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Reuters/PA

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