No.8 seed Petra Kvitova shook off a slow start to move past Veronica Cepede Royg in the first round of the French Open in three sets.
WTA Staff
May 28, 2018

PARIS, France - No.8 seed Petra Kvitova was pushed the distance in her opener on day two of the French Open,  but ultimately the two-time Wimbledon champion battled past Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg into the second round, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Kvitova overcame 17 unforced errors over the first nine games, cleaning up her tennis to see off a determined foe in Cepede Royg, who reached the fourth round in Paris a year ago.

The Czech finished the match with 30 winners to 35 unforced errors, breaking the World No.87 twice in the second and at a crucial moment at 5-5 in the third to move through to the round of 64 in two hours and seven minutes.

The victory is Kvitova's 12th straight on clay this summer, after she arrived in Paris as the champion on home soil in Prague and at the Premier Mandatory event in Madrid. 

"The important points, that's really deciding who gonna win the match, and I was lucky today," Kvitova said after the match. 

"I think it was very physically tough today. She really hit almost everything. I'm not surprised she reached the fourth round last year here. She really likes the conditions here and played very well. She didn't really miss much, as well, so it was pretty tough."

The two-time Wimbledon champion was unable to gain a foothold on return in the first set, as timely serving from Paraguay's No.1 helped to put her behind.

Cepede Royg lost just seven points on her delivery in the entire first set despite serving at just 55%, including just three points when she landed her first serve. 

Conversely, Kvitova was dealt early pressure when she was forced to save a break point in the fourth game of the match, but ultimately couldn't hold off Cepede Royg, who broke in the eighth game and served out the set to love. 

"It was really tough to break her serve. Even she doesn't really have that great serve, she really put everything into the court," the Czech assessed.

"I think I work pretty hard to be ready for the rallies...and I cannot have winners, which I think I showed today, as well."


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However, a quick turnaround from the former World No.2 helped send the match to a decider, as she streaked through the first five games of the second set after navigating break point in the third game which would've seen the Paraguayan get back on serve. 

Kvitova nonetheless saved her best serving for the final set, which was much-needed as Cepede Royg kept the pressure on by holding her own.

The Czech was never taken to deuce in the final set, and despite not converting on a break point in the seventh game, she made no mistake the next time she was given an opportunity at 5-5. 

"I was just happy -- I tried a little bit go more to the court, be more a little bit aggressive than before. Otherwise, we are still playing probably (smiling)."
Petra Kvitova

The two-time Wimbledon champion was a semifinalist in Paris in 2012, but has not come close to repeating that result in recent seasons.

This year, she entered Roland Garros with a tour-leading four titles and 30 wins, but the Czech No.2 is treating every win she gets on Paris' terre battue as a "bonus."

"I did have great matches on the clay which I'm taking very positive. I think for me this clay season it's great, and I'm just here to have some maybe more bonuses, which I already did today," she said.

"I'm taking very easy and relaxed this tournament. It's just a bonus, as I said, so we'll see how everything end up. I'm just very happy to be in the second round right now."