PARIS, May 28, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who has been sidelined since Miami with a right shoulder injury, came back to finish her suspended match with No. 118 lucky loser Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic and won 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. It was the 22nd-seeded Andreescu’s first match on clay this season, a surface she enjoys playing on, and her first main draw win at Roland Garros.
The Andreescu-Bouzkova match was suspended by darkness on Monday evening after the completion of the first two sets.
Between the two competitors, there were 40 break points and 17 breaks of service. The high risk-high reward style of Andreescu was evident on Court 14 as the 18-year-old Canadian hit 58 winners and 60 unforced errors. Meanwhile, Bouzkova finished with 24 winners and 32 unforced errors. It all added up to three hours and two minutes of highly entertaining tennis.
Retour gagnant pour @Bandreescu_ 🇨🇦
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) 28. Mai 2019
”I’m not going to lie. This wasn’t one of my best matches at all,” said Andreescu. “I was getting pretty mad at myself.
“But, I mean, it’s my first tournament back after an injury, so I tried to stay as calm as possible. And I’m just really proud of how I fought through the match with the tennis I had.”
Next, Andreescu, who won her first big WTA title earlier this year at Indian Wells, will come back tomorrow to face No. 35 Sofia Kenin. The American beat Italian qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, on Monday. Looking ahead, the Andreescu-Kenin winner will likely face No. 10 seed Serena Williams in the third round
Puig: Happy on court, playing focused
No. 59 Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, who won the 2016 Rio Olympics gold medal in women’s singles, has recently moved to Chicago and taken on Kamau Murray as her coach, whom she started working with earlier this year. The two have developed a good dynamic. After all, Murray formerly worked with Sloane Stephens and molded the American into a Top 10 player. Puig, 25, who has reached the third round of Roland Garros twice (2013 and 2016), got off to a good start this year with a 6-1, 7-5 win over No. 64 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, who was playing in her 11th French Open and has never advanced beyond the second round. During the match, Puig converted seven of nine break points, saved nine of 12 break points and hit 26 winners. She played the big points well.
“I was very happy with the way I played today,” said Puig during an interview in the Tennis Channel studio at Court Philippe Chatrier. “I had to be on my toes today and focused on what I needed to do. I wasn’t able to play here last year, so I went on the court with a lot of emotions being back here at Roland Garros.”
Asked how she’s handled her sudden success at becoming an Olympic champion, Puig said, “I think the biggest thing is to enjoy the moment, but not to let it spook you. Sometimes, when you win something so big – and with that comes pressure and expectations – a lot of it comes from yourself. So, just trying to deal with it the best way possible and focusing on all the right things you need to do to get better – and knowing it doesn’t end there – there’s so much left of your career. I’m finding my footing now and feeling more confident in myself.”
Next, Puig will face No. 21 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia, who reached the quarterfinals of last year’s French Open. Kasatkina advanced to the second round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 210 Italian qualifier Jasmine Paolini.
“The beginning of the match was pretty nervous because of the weather conditions and the first round of my favorite tournament. So I was pretty nervous. But then I’m happy I was able to fix it and to play good tennis today,” said Kasatkina after her victory.
Around Roland Garros
• In a battle of former Grand Slam champions, No. 43 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus outlasted 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in one hour and 45 minutes on Court Simonne Mathieu. There were eight breaks of serve in the first set alone – 13 overall – and the No. 39 Ostapenko double-faulted 17 times. Azarenka overcame 33 winners by her opponent and outpointed Ostapenko 82-75 to advance to the second round. Azarenka’s best Roland Garros performance came when she reached the semifinals in 2013. Ostapenko is winless at Roland Garros since lifting the trophy in 2017.
• No. 17 seed Anett Kontaveit, a finalist on clay at Stuttgart last month, went out in the first round against No. 73 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 57 minutes on Court 7. Kontaveit, who reached the fourth round a year ago, had her serve broken eight times and faced 15 break points. Muchova hit 33 winners and caused Kontaveit into committing 38 unforced errors.
• Playing in her ninth French Open, No. 24 seed Caroline Garcia of France moved into the second round with a 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 86 Mona Barthel of Germany on Court Suzanne Lenglen. The one hour and 12 minute match featured Garcia winning first-serve points at an impressive 79 percent efficient (27 of 34) and breaking Barthel four times in eight opportunities. She added 22 winners.
After losing the Strasbourg final last Saturday, Garcia was the only player coming into Roland Garros off a final run last week to win in the first round in Paris as Strasbourg champion Dayana Yastremska, Nürnberg champion Yulia Putintseva and Nurnberg finalist Tamara Zidansek all lost yesterday.
• No. 51 Amanda Anisimova, 17, of the United States, needed just 56 minutes to move into the next round with a 6-3, 6-1 wn over French wild card Harmony Tan, 6-3, 6-1. Anisimova converted all five of her break-point opportunities, won 78 percent (25 of 32) of her first-serve points and converted 54 percent (29 of 53) of her returns. She hit 24 winners and committed just 16 errors. Anisimova outpointed Tan 61-39.
• No. 116 Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania defeated Zhu Lin of China, ranked No. 106, 6-1, 6-1 in 58 minutes. She converted five of six break points and did not face any break points on her serve. A nine-time veteran at Roland Garros, Begu hopes to build upon her 2016 best performance, when she reached the fourth round.
What they’re saying
Three-time French Open champion (2002 2013, 2015) Serena Williams, on putting her head back and screaming in frustration after she fell behind by 15-30 on her serve in the opening game of the second set after losing the first set 6-2: “I don’t think I have ever done that before. The past week and half has been really good, and God, it was like, this isn’t the Serena I have been practicing with or that I see every day.” As it happened, Williams went on to win the next three points and hold serve. Then, she would lose only one more game the rest of the match en route to her 2-6, 6-1, 6-0, victory and a place in the second round.
What they’re writing
Christopher Clarey, New York Times tennis columnist (from “The Rust Is Apparent, but Williams’s Fight Has Never Left”): “It has been a frustrating year at the office so far for Serena Williams, filled with old injuries that have resurfaced and new ones that have scuttled her chances. It has been a season where the opportunities to play actual tennis matches and finish the few she has started have been far too rare.
“But Williams was back in the public eye and in harm’s way at the French Open at age 37 on Monday, even if many other veteran tennis champions would have skipped the experience altogether and started preparing for the grass-court season and Wimbledon, which she has won seven times.”