PARIS (Reuters) - Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova put in a power-packed show to beat Oceane Dodin 6-3 7-5 on Monday and breeze into the second round of the French Open.
The 30-year-old last played in the U.S. Open on hardcourts and arrived in Paris without participating in any lead-up events on clay.
The twice Wimbledon champion showed no signs of rust in her first clash with the French player, however, serving strong and generating enough power in her strokes under the closed roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.
“We never played each other before, not even in practice,” Kvitova said in her on-court interview.
“So it was really tough from the beginning, but I found actually she plays very aggressive, her shots are similar as mine, so I was just trying to wait for the chance to break her serve.”
Kvitova, who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2012, lost only two points in her service games in the opening set and broke Dodin in the eighth game to take the lead.
The 23-year-old Dodin, ranked 118th in the world, had not got past the first round of a Grand Slam event since 2017 and it looked like being a quick defeat at her home Grand Slam.
She found her feet, however, in the second set, which saw an early trade of service breaks before Kvitova raised her game to get the break in the 11th game and close in on victory.
The Czech, who missed last year’s tournament at Roland Garros due to an arm injury, sealed victory with a forehand volley for her 30th winner.
“In the second she came back and really played much stronger and it was really tough in the end,” Kvitova said.
The 30-year-old, who hit eight aces and eight less unforced errors than her opponent, will next play either Italian Jasmine Paolini or Aliona Bolsova of Spain.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Ed Osmond
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