No.11 seed Petra Kvitova notched her first win against 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko, advancing in straight sets in her opening round match at the US Open.
WTA Staff

NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.11 seed Petra Kvitova overcame a losing head-to-head record against 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko to win 7-5, 6-3 in her opening round match at the US Open.

Kicking off the day's action on Court 12, the two-time Wimbledon champion was dealt a tricky opening match against the young Latvian. Ostapenko has defeated Kvitova twice already in 2016, notching three-set wins at Doha and Birmingham.

"I knew that I had to return better, especially on her second serve, which I did today at the end of the match," Kvitova explained in post-match press. "I was struggling a little bit at the beginning, kind of tight and couldn't really move. I know that she hits big and fast, and I was trying to eliminate that."

Ostapenko has been on the rise all year: she started out the season ranked No.84 and now at No.36, she just narrowly missed out on getting a US Open seeding. And against Kvitova, whose bronze medal at the Olympic tennis event has been the highlight of an otherwise quiet season, the Latvian's big hitting always spells out big trouble.

Ostapenko kept to the script out on Court 12 today as well, breaking Kvitova twice to power ahead to a 3-0 lead. The Czech rallied to grab a break back, playing consistent tennis to force the errors to leak from the 19-year-old's backhand wing. Kvitova finally leveled the set at 5-5, and rattled off the next two games to take the opening set.

Kvitova continued her romp into set two, where she tamped down three of Ostapenko's break opportunities to roll to a straight sets victory. The Czech hit just six winners to five unforced errors during the match, but overall kept her margins cleaner than Ostapenko's four winners and 11 unforced errors.

"I feel like I had a breakthrough here at the US Open," Kvitova said. I didn't really like it before; I don't know why, but I feel the courts aren't as fast as I wish they'd be. But I made a great success last year, and I hope it's not the end. I know how difficult it is with the air and the humidity is not the best for me, but today I played good and didn't have any troubles with that."

She'll face Turkey's No.66 Cagla Buyukakcay in the second round, who recorded the first win of the day when she knocked out No.75 Irina Falconi in her US Open main draw debut.

"I haven't played her yet, but it's nice that someone is making stories like she is," Kvitova said of the Turkish trailblazer. "It's nice that she's showing her tennis to Turkish people so more people play there."