Friday, 23 June, 2017

Kvitova completes emotional winning comeback at French Open

Nathaniel Diaz | 29 May, 2017, 11:55

Angelique Kerber has not been playing at all like someone ranked No. 1 this season, and on Sunday she became the first woman seeded No. 1 to lose in the French Open's first round in the professional era.

The German has been badly out of form in 2017, despite sitting at the top of the rankings, and the only surprise about her 6-2 6-2 loss to Ekaterina Makarova was the magnitude of it. She was undecided until late last week whether to even try to play in the French Open.

It is a second consecutive first-round loss at Roland Garros for Kerber, who won the Australian Open and US Open titles previous year and reached the Wimbledon final. "And the expectations are also, from me, really big, of course, because I know what I can do, what I did a year ago", Kerber said.

"Yes, I wanted to come back not just to play".

The French Open is set to start, and the featured match on Day 1 will be two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova's return to competition less than six months after being stabbed.

In one other early result of significance, 2015 U.S. Open runner-up Roberta Vinci exited the French Open in the first round for the fourth year in a row.

Emergency surgery - nearly four hours long - helped fix damage to the Czech's tendons and nerves and she has been battling back to fitness ever since.

Mixing winners and unforced errors in nearly equal measure, Kvitova had three break points to go 4-0 up but Boserup saw them off, although she could not fully overturn the advantage.

Although maybe not, considering how Kerber has fared lately.

As she said, Kvitova was a victor just by stepping out on court. (Czech for "Come on!") emblazoned on black t-shirts worn by her entourage, who she pointed to afterwards.

Thiem, who reached the semifinals previous year, comfortably beat Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.

The very first point from the 27-year-old saw her hit a signature forehand victor, which was a surprise even to Kvitova herself.

Kerber had only four winners and 12 unforced errors in the first set and didn't even earn a break point until the last game, which Makarova won, anyway.

- The 10th seed fell a break behind in the second set but regained her composure to force a tiebreak, which she won easily.

"So I was playing my match and I heard that she won, because Chatrier is not too far away, and it was really incredible and I was imagining what her reaction must have been like, because to get your first win, especially in a Grand Slam after what happened to her after such a traumatic experience, it's incredible". "Gave her a big hug". I'm more than happy she's back.

The 38-year-old Ivo Karlovic, who is also known for his big serve and 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) stature, advanced to the second round with a 7-6 (5), 7-5, 6-4 win over teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas. The standout match in the men's singles sees Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem, a semi-finalist in 2016, take on unpredictable Bernard Tomic of Australia. Her staggering longevity is illustrated by the fact that her potential second round opponent is compatriot Amanda Anisimova who, at just 15, is the youngest main draw competitor since 2005.

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