On Day 3, Petra Kvitova withdrew from the French Open after injuring her ankle. The eleventh seed fell as she left an interview. After undergoing an MRI and discussing it with her team, the 2020 Roland Garros semifinalist decided it best not to play on. Hopefully Kvitova will be healed in time for the grass season.
Perhaps the biggest winner on the courts today was Carla Suarez Navarro. Diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, Suarez Navarro has been absent from the game for 15 months. Her biggest battle was off the court and her victory more triumphant that any three set match. The small smattering of spectators gave a standing ovation to the Spaniard. Her tight, three set loss to Sloane Stephens was overshadowed by her triumphant return.
French Open Day 3 Women’s Recap
Ninth Seed Karolina Pliskova Makes it Past First Hurdle
An easy day on the court for Karolina Pliskova, who defeated Donna Vekic in straight sets. After the sting of a 6-0 6-0 loss at the finals in Rome, this is a great start for the Czech. Up next for the World #10 is Sloane Stephens. An interesting match up as either of these players’ game can go off the rails without warning.
Coco Gauff Continues her Campaign
The 24th seed endured a lengthy first set tiebreak, finally coming through 13-11. A much easier second set sent Aleksandra Krunic out of the French Open. Most notably, Gauff put in play 71% of her first deliveries–a big improvement for the teen whose serve can falter from time to time.
Ekaterina Alexandrova Crushes Venus Williams in Opener
#32 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova dropped a mere four games in her win over Venus Williams. Neither player should be any too pleased with their serving today. Yet, Alexandrova capitalized well on Williams’ second delivery, leaving Venus to claim only 27% of those points. Fans of Venus can still see her in action as she takes to the doubles courts alongside Coco Gauff.
Three Set Battles See the Seeded Players Move Through
Eighteenth seed Karolina Muchova had a rough start. Germany’s Andrea Petkovic grabbed the first set, yielding just a single game. The Czech is no stranger to three set clashes. Muchova faced a decider in 60% of her recent matches. Exceptional mental fortitude has seen her come out on top 80% of the time.
Anett Kontaveit, the #30 seed, split the first and second sets with Viktorija Golubic–both going to tiebreaks. In a commanding performance, Kontaveit won the decider without dropping a game.
The #1 seed, Ash Barty was pushed to the decider on Philippe-Chatrier. Bernarda Pera upped her game in the second set to keep her hopes alive. Barty can take her game to another level better than most. The Aussie commanded in the third for a 6-2 win.
An Easy Day on the Red Clay
Maria Sakkari, seeded #17, has had a mediocre clay court season. The Greek turned in her best result in Madrid, reaching the Round of 16. Certainly not the result a player of this caliber wants. So, today’s 6-4, 6-1 win may add the confidence Sakkari needs. Jasmine Paolini will be Sakkari’s next opponent. The third round is the danger point where it’s likely Sakkari will face 14th seed Elise Mertens.
Fifth seed Elina Svitolina effortlessly moved into the second round. Next opponent is Ann Li, who has lost only one game in Paris. Expect the Ukrainian to be tested in this one.
Ons Jabeur, #25 continued her winning ways with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Yulia Putintseva.
Thirteenth seed Jennifer Brady used her powerful forehand and big serve to send off Anastasija Sevastova. Brady broke the Sevastova serve on four of seven opportunities. Despite only getting 59% of her first serves in play, the American’s aggressive return game robbed Sevastova of time. We may be looking at an all-American third round, where she will likely meet Coco Gauff.
Main Photo from Getty.