PARIS, France – No.16 seed Elise Mertens made safe progress to the second round of the French Open thanks to a 7-6(9), 6-7(4), 6-0 victory over Varvara Lepchenko.
The Belgian needed two days to complete a marathon encounter, which resumed on Tuesday 3-0 in the decider after heavy rain stopped play the previous evening.
What had gone before was extremely tight, with the WTA World No. 16 falling behind following a mammoth first-set tiebreak that was edged by the 32-year-old American.
However, Mertens hit back similarly in the second set for the loss of four points.
Holding a significant advantage overnight, with two breaks in her back pocket, Mertens set about making short work of her opponent.
After holding to 30, she then rattled through her opponent’s service game, claiming it without the loss of a single point and indicating just how much she wanted the match over rapidly with a significant celebration once she had done so.
She completed the bagel set by dropping only one further point, a double fault, thereby spending barely 10 minutes on court to claim the three games she needed to set up a second-round tie with Britain's Heather Watson.