It was an emotional return to Court Philippe Chatrier for the 15th seed Petra Kvitova on day one of the French Open. The two-time Wimbledon champion was stabbed in her left hand when an intruder invaded her home in the Czech Republic back in December. Nonetheless, five months later, the former world number two returned back to professional tennis ahead of schedule at the French Open.
Kvitova was the first winner of the day defeating the USA's Julia Boserup in emphatic fashion, which was her first victory since last November.
Vintage Kvitova in the opening set
The 15th seed received a standing ovation from a sparse Court Phillipe Chatrier, and for the second successive year, Kvitova opened proceedings on that court. It was a comfortable start for the Czech number two as she served out wide with a forehand winner. Kvitova held serve with a backhand winner to lead 1-0. Moreover, it was a dream start for the two-time Wimbledon champion as she broke the American in the next game to lead 2-0.
The 2012 French Open semifinalist consolidated the break easily with a couple of aces. The 25-year-old's serve was under scrutiny in the next service game, as Kvitova's high-level play continued. The Czech was looking for a double break with a return backhand winner down the line. However, Boserup saved them both with two unforced errors from Kvitova. The 15th seed failed to capitalise on another break point chance, and the American finally got on the board.
Kvitova's serve was remained untroubled until her third service game in the fifth game of the match. Boserup found a return winner down the line to create a first break point chance. Kvitova saved it. Furthermore, the American created more break point chances but ultimately a forehand winner in the corner and a good serve out wide, gave her lead to 4-1.
The American is currently ranked at 86 in the world, and her career-high ranking was 85, achieved a few weeks ago. A few more unforced sprung from Kvitova's racquet allowed Boserup to hold serve.
Kvitova served to love in her next service game with a commanding 5-2 lead. Boserup forced the Czech to serve out for the opening set. Kvitova raced out to a 40-0 lead with two aces, creating three set points. However, Boserup remained aggressive with the American finding two winners along with a Kvitova double fault. Moreover, a fourth set point quickly followed with a seventh ace of the opening set. Nevertheless, on the fifth set point of asking, the 15th seed produced a sweet forehand winner to take the opening set 6-3.
The Czech records the first win of this year's French Open
Kvitova was in cruise control in the second set as she remained at playing tennis at a high level. The Czech broke the 25-year-old's serve to love. The two-time Wimbledon champion consolidated the break with a sliced forehand winner at the net.
Once again, Boserup was under pressure but there was a slight rain delay which halted play for five minutes. The American dug herself out of a hole at 15-30 to keep in touch with Kvitova and trailed 2-1. The 15th seed's serving was comfortable as she extended her lead to 3-1 with a hold to love. Everything was going Kvitova's way in the next service game as the Czech-built a 0-30 lead with a return with a ball trickling over the net. However, a few more unforced errors allowed the American to claim her last game of the match.
The 2012 semifinalist continued her good run of form in this match as she held serve easily to stretch out her lead to 4-2. Boserup was unable to compete well against Kvitova as she got a game point at 40-30. Moreover, Kvitova got the game to deuce with a stunning forehand winner down the line. Another stunning return from the 15th seed forced Boserup to commit an error to create a break point. The former world number two produced a good return with an error out wide from Boserup.
The former world number two's serve and forehand were firing on all cylinders. Both players were rallying well from the baseline but a good shot from Kvitova forced the American to commit an error into the net. At the first time of asking, an emotional Kvitova converted her match point with a forehand error from Boserup's racquet to win 6-3, 6-2 in emphatic fashion in 1 hour and 13 minutes.
The two-time Wimbledon champion recorded some good numbers on her first outing since November. The Czech produced nine aces, whilst Boserup committed three double faults. Kvitova had a high first serve percentage by getting 66 percent of her first serves in and she won 78 percent of the points on it. The 15th seed also outmatched Boserup in the winners department. Kvitova produced 31 winners whilst the 25-year-old got 9 winners.
Kvitova's French Open journey continues in the second round and she was a winnable second round match with qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands or Evgeniya Rodina.