French Open: Pliskova survives first round scare

PARIS, SEP 29 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 9/29/2020 12:56:53 PM IST

Jelena Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova came from a set down to avoid an upset against Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif in the French Open first round, reports BBC Sports.

World number four Pliskova, 28, had eight set points in the opener, before losing to Sherif - ranked 172nd in the world - in a tie-break.
The 2017 semi-finalist wrapped up a quick second set against the 24-year-old after winning four games in a row.
Pliskova came through a tense decider to claim a 6-7 (9-11) 6-2 6-4 victory.
“It was super tough,” she said. “Especially after losing the first set after having set points.
“She played a great game, especially in these conditions.”
Sherif kept up an impressive level throughout and the pair exchanged breaks at the start of the second set.
But Pliskova then won four games in a row, eventually holding serve to level things. The Czech was made to work much harder for the final set as she failed to convert five break points before winning the sixth to go 4-3 up. She held serve and wrapped up the match after two hours and 15 minutes with an ace down the middle. Pliskova, who has never won a Grand Slam, will face Latvian world number 43 Jelena Ostapenko in the second round.
Ostapenko gets first French Open win since 2017 title
Ostapenko said she believes she can return to the world’s top 10 with a little more consistency in her game after securing her first French Open victory since lifting the trophy in 2017, reports The Latvian, 23, blasted 46 winners en route to a 6-2, 6-1 defeat of Madison Brengle -- her only win at Roland Garros outwith her shock run to the title three years ago.
Ostapenko’s raw talent and fearless approach powered her to a stunning French Open triumph that saw her become the first unseeded player to win the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen since Britain’s Margaret Scriven in 1933.
However, Ostapenko admitted she struggled to cope with increased expectations following that fairytale run in Paris, and has added just two minor titles to her collection since beating Simona Halep in the 2017 final. “After I won it was a tough time. I had to get used to the pressure but now it’s all gone, and finally I won my first match after two years,” she told reporters on Tuesday.
“I feel like much better than the years before. I was practising a lot. I didn’t play the US swing and I was practising all the time on clay. “I was kind of waiting for this clay season. Finally, here we are. Yeah, just taking one match at a time, but really happy with my performance today.”
Ostapenko reached a career high of fifth in March 2018 and made both the quarter-finals and semi-finals at Wimbledon in the two appearances directly after her French Open breakthrough.
Heather Watson loses 
as British singles hopes end on day three
Heather Watson was unable to prolong British interest in the French Open singles after losing her first-round match to France’s Fiona Ferro, reports BBC Sports. Watson, 28, was the final Briton in the draws after five of her compatriots were beaten on the opening two days. But the world number 56 lost 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to Ferro, who is ranked seven places higher in the world.
Watson’s defeat means she has lost six straight matches since the professional game returned in early August. The Guernsey player competed at a decent level against the in-form Ferro - in a match delayed by rain and played in damp conditions - but their contrasting results coming into the Grand Slam event in Paris appeared to prove decisive.
Ferro, 23, has climbed into the world’s top 50 for the first time on the back of winning a clay-court title at the Palermo Open last month. That added confidence is what seemed to give her the upper hand in a pivotal first-set tie-break from which Watson could not recover. The pair continued to be evenly matched in the second set, but again it was Ferro who edged the crucial moments. Trailing 2-0, she broke back in the third game and then in the seventh to claim her first main-draw win at her home Grand Slam.
Watson’s defeat means it is the first time since the French Open in 2013 that there are no British representatives in the second round of a Grand Slam.
Former world number one Andy Murray, along with British number ones Johanna Konta and Dan Evans, lost on Sunday, while Cameron Norrie and Liam Broady followed suit on Monday.

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