Petra Kvitova saves match point to stay afloat at the French Open


No.11 seed Petra Kvitova played some of her best tennis as she saved a match point in a first-round French Open match against Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen, and won 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-1 to stay afloat on Sunday.

Had the Czech player lost it would have been the first time in 11 years that she had gone down in the first round. The last time she had lost in the opener was in 2010, when she was an unseeded 20-year-old and lost to Australian qualifier Sophie Ferguson.

Staring down 30-40 at 6-5 in the second set, Kvitova finished off a seven-shot rally with a crosscourt backhand winner to stay in it and hardly looked back to seal the win in two-hour, 16 minutes. She forced a final set by winning the last three points of the tiebreak, and surrendered just three points on serve in the decider.

Earlier on Sunday, world No. 2 Naomi Osaka of Japan got her campaign off to a strong start with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over 63rd-ranked Romanian Patricia Maria Tig. The four-time Grand Slam title winner, seeking her first second-week showing at the clay court major, fended off a spirited challenge from Patricia in one hour and 47 minutes.

In other first-round matches, No. 33 seed Paula Badosa of Spain continued her fine clay court season with a 6-2, 7-6(3) win over Lauren Davis of the USA. Paula has reached the semi-finals or better in her last three clay-court appearances — at Charleston, Madrid, and Belgrade, where she won her maiden WTA singles title.

Ukrainian qualifier Anhelina Kalinina upset former world No.1 Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2, 6-4 in an hour-and-a-half-long contest.

The 139th-ranked Anhelina came into the French Open qualifiers in exceptional form, having won back-to-back ITF Challenger events in Portugal and Croatia. She broke world No. 27 Angelique six times en route to her first ever win over a player ranked inside the top 30.

American Danielle Collins, who had not played since the Miami Open in March and recently underwent surgery to treat endometriosis, overcame Chinese qualifier Wang Xiyu in two hours and 15 minutes, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

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