Osaka, Azarenka, Kvitova Advance At French Open, Kerber Out; Serena Stars In First Night Session
by Staff | May 30th, 2021, 8:52 pm
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The French Open women’s draw kicked-off with a loaded line-up feature a bunch of multi-Slam winners.

Naomi Osaka, who’s been a big story all week, brushed off the controversy for a good opening win over Patricia Maria Tig 6-4, 7-6(4). Osaka made it tougher than it should have been in the second, but she got through for her 15th straight Grand Slam win.

Afterward, she skipped the press conference which was met with a $15K fine from the tournament.

Victoria Azarenka held off former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

“I will say that in terms of playing and competition and being on the court, I do feel like I’m enjoying a lot more,” Azarenka said. “I feel like I’m motivated more than I was before. I feel happy. I feel like I’m learning more, and I’m pushing my own potential.”

Petra Kvitova saved a match point in the second to survive an upset bid by Belgian Greet Minnen 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-1.

“Definitely she played very well,” said Kvitova after.

“But I think just she likes clay. I think she has a good game for clay. I would say that from my side it wasn’t really good from the beginning. I was very struggling, I was missing a lot, I was double faulting a lot. I didn’t really feel myself that well. I was pretty tight. And, yeah, it was really tough.

“I was fighting not only with her but with myself as well. Yeah, I’m glad that in the end, you know, I beat myself as well and beat her, so that counts.”

But 3-time Slam winner Angelique Kerber’s hopes for a first French title was dashed with straight-set loss to Anhelina Kalinina 6-2, 6-4.

“I think I had a late start, especially I start to play better in the second set, but yeah, I don’t know,” Kerber said. “I think she played good. I was not able to play my best tennis or like how I practiced in the last few days, and yeah, I think I have to accept that and looking forward to the next challenge.”

Aryna Sabalenka started slow, going down a break, before rolling to a 6-4, 6-3 win over Ana Konjuh.

“I would say it wasn’t great level today from me, but I was keep trying, keep fighting, keep trying to find my game,” said Sabalenka. “It was a little bit nervous game, especially on the beginning, because I felt like everything is not going well, and I don’t really feel my game.”

Americans went 2-3 as Madison Keys, Danielle Collins advanced while Cristina McHale, Lauren Davis and former semifinalist Amanda Anisimova fell.

French woman had a tough 0-4 start, as well.

Tomorrow, 3-time winner Serena Williams stars in the first night session ever at the French Open. In the 9pm Chatrier start, the 39-year-old Serena will take on Romanian veteran Irina-Camelia Begu.

Iga Swiatek opens her title defense against good friend Kaja Juvan. Former champions Jelena Ostapenko and Garbine Muguruza are also in action. Ostapenko meets 2020 finalist Sofia Kenin.

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