Puig's Inspired Grand Slam Debut
Published May 26, 2013 12:00
PARIS, France - It didn't take long for the first big upset at the French Open, as the No.11 seed, Nadia Petrova, was sent packing in a thriller at the hands of Puerto Rican teenager Monica Puig on Sunday.
The only other time Puig faced a Top 20 opponent she truly rose to the occasion, coming within two points of winning against then-World No.5 Angelique Kerber at Brisbane earlier in the year. And this one went down to the wire too, with Petrova winning the first set and building leads of 2-0 in the second and 4-2 in the third but eventually falling to Puig in her Grand Slam main draw debut, 36 75 64.
"The win was absolutely incredible!" Puig said after the match. "It was a tough match against a very tough opponent but I just kept fighting and I was so happy to come out with the victory in the end."
So Puig adds her first Grand Slam main draw win and her first Top 20 win to a list of firsts in 2013 that also includes reaching her first WTA quarterfinal in Oeiras and breaking into the Top 100.
Other seeded players in action around the grounds included No.5 seed Sara Errani, who beat Arantxa Rus, 61 62; No.19 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who clawed back from 64 42 down to defeat Andrea Hlavackova, 46 76(5) 64; No.26 seed Sorana Cirstea, who rallied from a set down to make it past Kiki Bertens, 57 75 62; and No.32 seed Sabine Lisicki, who outdid Sofia Arvidsson, 63 64.
Errani was asked about coming back to the site of her absolute breakthrough fortnight a year ago.
"I'm not really thinking about that - it's a new tournament for me," Errani said. "Last year was an unbelievable tournament, the best tournament of my life, but I just want to come here and play like it's a new tournament, like I do every week. I try to be like that. I just want to concentrate on my tennis and not think too much about last year and what I have to defend and all of these other things."
Winners in all-unseeded match-ups were Petra Cetkovska, Mallory Burdette, Yulia Putintseva, qualifier Galina Voskoboeva and wildcards Shelby Rogers and Virginie Razzano - Razzano, who beat Serena Williams here last year, edged fellow French wildcard Claire Feuerstein, 76(6) 64.
Burdette put together an impressive straight set win against Croatian phenom Donna Vekic, 63 64.
"This is my first Grand Slam this year, so I was just going out there trying to take it one point at a time," Burdette said. "I'm pretty happy with my performance. Very happy to get it done in two sets.
"I've had to make some adjustments playing on the clay now, changing things up - a couple of higher balls when I get out of position. You can't necessarily bang yourself out of trouble on clay the way you can on hardcourts. So that's been a bit of an adjustment for me, but when the ball is short, you had better believe I will be up there inside the court taking it early and trying to impose my will."
Rogers, another young American, won an all-wildcard battle against France's Irena Pavlovic, 63 64.
"It feels really good - my first Grand Slam main draw win," Rogers said. "It was especially tough against a French player. I was expecting the crowd to be against me. I was ready for a battle. She's a good player and has a lot of power - great serve. I was ready, but things turned out in my favor."