Paris: While Eighth seed Petra Kvitova beat Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena to slide into the French Open third round with a 6-0, 6-4 victory, World number one Simona Halep battled back after a a disastrous opening to defeat Alison Riske 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 in their delayed French Open first-round match on Wednesday.
The Romanian committed 16 unforced errors in the set but stepped up a gear from that point on to book a second-round match against Taylor Townsend of the United States.
“It’s always difficult in the first round of a Grand Slam, you are always nervous. But I started to run more, played better and kept more balls in play,” the 26-year-old said.
Halep, who is still looking for a first Grand Slam title, will play for the second straight day on Thursday, after the match with Riske was pushed back from Tuesday due to rain.
“I think I’ll be ready tomorrow (Thursday), I feel strong in my legs. Anything can happen with the rain so all we can do is rest and try to be at our best when we step on the court,” she said.
Halep needs to win or at least reach the semi-finals to retain the world top spot.
Kvitova marches on
After claiming titles in Prague and Madrid, Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, has now won 13 consecutive matches on clay and will face Estonia’s 25th seed Anett Kontaveit for a place in the last 16.
Czech Kvitova has not reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros since a run to the last four in 2012.
The 28-year-old raced through the opening set in only 24 minutes, and although she was pegged back after an early break in the second, a booming forehand sealed victory with a third straight game.
(With inputs from AFP)