There were upsets a-plenty Wednesday on the women’s side at the French Open where a former Slam winner, a former Slam finalist and one of the hottest claycourt players over the last year were shown the door.
Two Americans led the upsets as Bethanie Mattek-Sands stopped the comeback run of No. 15 Petra Kvitova 7-6(5), 7-6(5), and teenager Catherine Bellis stunned No. 18 Kiki Bertens 6-3, 7-6(5). Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur was also an upset-maker, taking out No. 6 seed Dominika Cibulkova.
“It’s hard for me to believe I’m in the third round,” said the 18-year-old Bellis. “On the final point maybe her nerves got the best of her. Just really lucky [for me] on that point. I do love playing on big courts at these tournaments.”
Jabeur, who got into the draw as a lucky loser, is the first Arab woman to reach the third round in Grand Slam history.
“I have fond memories of winning the juniors here, and I hope to create many more,” she said after downing Cibulkova. “The crowd really helped me, especially the Tunisians.”
Top 10 winners on Wednesday were No. 4 Garbine Muguruza Blanco coming from a set down to beat Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2; No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova working past France’s Oceane Dodin 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-3; and No. 10 Venus Williams rolling over Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-1.
“Even though I was losing a set and 3-1, I didn’t gave up,” said the defending champion Muguruza. “I was thinking, she’s going to have to really beat me here. I didn’t let myself go down. Honestly, she was playing good. She took her chances. I knew it was going to be a battle out there. I lost to her not long ago so I did something different this time, different in a good way.”
Kuznetsova expressed her relief after getting past a Frenchwoman in front of the Parisian crowd.
“It was a tough one, she’s a tricky player and the crowd was helping her quite a bit,” the Russian said of Dodin. “She was just going for it, so maybe I was a bit too passive. A Grand Slam is where you constantly face different situations. Players who aren’t top seeds have nothing to lose, they are motivated to play at a higher level, so I’m happy I’m through.”
Venus rolled through to the third round with her pregnant sister Serena rooting her on from the stands.
“It’s always a joy when you can control the match,” the elder Williams sister said. “Today’s match was definitely less errors than the first match, that is something to build on. It was a little bit tricky there, but I still controlled the match. That always feels good.”
Also among the seeded winners were No. 11 Caroline Wozniacki who double-bageled Canuck Francoise Abanda 6-0, 6-0; No. 13 Kristina Mladenovic who handled her back issues during a 6-2, 6-3 win over former Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani; No. 23 Sam Stosur; No. 27 Yulia Putintseva who needed three sets to beat Johanna Larsson; No. 30 Timea Bacsinszky; and No. 32 Zhang Shuai who defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich in three.
“I’m satisfied to have beaten a great player, she was impressive,” Mladenovic said of Errani. “My back caused me some problems and made me feel unsure but it’s a bit better now.”
Promising match-ups to look for on Thursday at Roland Garros are few, but include (20) Barbora Strycova vs. upset specialist Alize Cornet of France, (3) Simona Halep vs. German riser Tatjana Maria, and (17) Anastasija Sevastova vs. Genie Bouchard.
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