Petra Kvitova withdraws from the French Open

Petra Kvitova has withdrawn from the French Open.

Two-time semifinalist Petra Kvitova has been forced to withdraw from the French Open on account of an injury she suffered during a post-match press briefing. After tripping, Kvitova injured her ankle severely enough to curtail her involvement in Paris. The two-time Wimbledon champion was slated to play Elena Vesnina of Russia in the second round on Wednesday. But Kvitova felt that withdrawal was the right decision ahead of Wimbledon and the Czech will now turn her focus to getting fit for the forthcoming grass-court season.

The Czech is one of the finest players in the world and would have been hoping for a deep run at Roland Garros. Ranked 11th, she had a decent run at the Madrid Open in May, where she reached the quarterfinals. Kvitova had battled back from losing the first set in the first round match against qualifier Greet Minnen. She put her poor performance in the first set behind to save a match point in the second. In the decider, Kvitova was much more confident as she barrelled through the set thanks to an excellent serving performance, not giving Minnen any opportunity to break, and eventually wrapping up the win 6-7 7-6 6-1.

Well-known for her ferocious forehand and a strong all-round game, she may not have been amongst the favourites for the title but looked likely to reach the second week at least. Her exit might just have opened up that part of the draw, although 10th seed Bencic and seventh seed Serena Williams are both still in contention. American Madison Keys, the 23rd seed, is also in the same half of the draw.

Still, despite plenty of star names being left in the tournament, will only add to the disappointment that followed world #2 Naomi Osaka pulling out of the same event a day before. Osaka had originally made headlines for announcing a boycott of press conferences at the French Open ahead of the tournament. When she maintained her stand on the issue, she was fined and threatened with a possible future ban by the four Grand Slams. Osaka ultimately withdrew from the tournament, citing a desire to return the focus to the tennis.

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