LUXEMBOURG - Andrea Petkovic dropped the opening set to love in just 24 minutes against No.6 seed Camila Giorgi, but bounced back emphatically to take the match in three and move into the second round of the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. 

Contesting her 11th edition of the Luxembourg tournament, Petkovic came into the match hoping to avenge the three-set heartbreaker she had suffered to Giorgi in the second round of the Bronx Open. There, the Italian was the one who came back from a set down, edging through to win 3-6, 7-5, 7-6.

The resurgent Petkovic, a former WTA Top 10 player, seemed to find her best tennis last week in Linz, where she reached the semifinals and took down No.5 seed Julia Goerges along the way.

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But her exploits in Austria might have been taxing as Petkovic took to Center Court with her left knee heavily taped, and the German struggled to find her footing at the start.

“She was serving and playing so well, and I was a little bit slow [at the beginning]. And when you’re slow with her, who hits so hard, it’s really impossible to play,” Petkovic told after the match.

“So honestly in the beginning of the second set I was like, just somehow get on the board. Win a game, and then we’ll take it from there.”

Giorgi drew first blood with an early break to take a 1-0 lead. Petkovic fought her way to three break back points, but let them slip away under Giorgi’s heavy hitting. Instead, the Italian held serve and reeled off the next five games in a row to take the set to love in 24 minutes. 

But the German looked far from discouraged in the second set as she mounted her comeback. Petkovic got her name on the scoreboard, and then stayed toe to toe with Giorgi as the next eight games in a row went to the servers. 

Giorgi had a big chance to seal the match at 4-4, holding a break opportunity that would have had her serving for the match at 5-4. But instead it was Petkovic who fended off the assault, and a game later the German broke the Giorgi serve to take the set, 6-4.

She kept the momentum going in the third set when she started out with an early break for a 2-0 lead. But that’s when the Italian struck back, her flat groundstrokes blasting their way to a break back, 2-2 and looking set to turn things around. In fact, Giorgi led Petkovic by a break a few games later at 4-3, but Petkovic slammed the door on any hopes of a Giorgi comeback. The German reeled off the last three games in a row to claim the victory in just under two hours.  

“In the third set I was playing much better, but when she hits the ball well it’s almost impossible to play,” Petkovic acknowledged. “So I just tried to stay patient and then it paid off in the end.”

She added, “I managed to find the rhythm on my serve a little bit better, to just be a little bit more explosive in my legs. And then once I got into the match, I feel like it was an equal fight. It was just a matter of a few points in the end.”

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Petkovic struck eight winners and 20 unforced errors across three sets as she looked to turn around a 0-6 deficit, and escape from a break down in the third set. She weathered Giorgi’s barrage of 27 winners and 29 unforced errors, and took advantage of the Italian’s nine double faults en route to victory. 

Up next, Petkovic will take on another German in the second round as she faces Antonia Lottner. Lottner took down countrywoman Tamara Korpatsch, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to advance.