French Open: Sara Errani survives tough first round match

Sara Errani, who had to come through the qualifying draw, eased past Misaki Doi in the first round of the French Open after a tough first set before some injury problems caused the Japanese not being able to play her best tennis in the second. Errani would now face Kristina Mladenovic in the second round of the competition.

Errani steals the marathon first set

Some excellent offensive style of tennis brought Doi off to a great start, giving her the golden opportunity to take the lead when she earned two break points in the opening game. However, six unforced errors off her groundstrokes cost her greatly as Errani found a way to hold her service, narrowly getting herself onto the scoreboard.

Sara Errani in action | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Sara Errani in action | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Doi’s woes continued in the next game as the inconsistencies on her groundstrokes dragged her behind, hitting four consecutive errors to gift the early break to Errani, who took the early lead out of nowhere. Wasting two game points to consolidate the break for a 3-0 lead, it was Doi who broke straight back instead and returned level on serve with some powerful winners. Dictating play in her own service games, Doi held her serve comfortably for the first time in the match before Errani followed suit.

Missing a total of three game point opportunities, Doi had trouble with Errani’s returns as she was broken once more, allowing the Italian to regain the lead. A strong forehand winner then sealed another break back for Doi, who immediately returned level on the scoreboard. Hitting with precision and increased consistency, Doi went all out and jumped out to a 5-4 lead, getting the hard-earned opportunity to serve out the set.

Misaki Doi in action | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Misaki Doi in action | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Serving for the set, the Japanese was unable to fend off the tough resistance of the former Top 10 player, returning level and giving herself another chance to win the set. Errani finally managed to hold her serve as she took the lead once more, being just one game away from winning the first set. Successfully serving to stay in the set, Doi managed to come up with some strong serves to bring the first set into a tiebreak.

Within a blink of an eye, Errani jumped out to a huge 4-0 lead in the tiebreak, bringing her closer to winning the first set. However, she was immediately pegged back by the lower-ranked player as Doi did not show any signs of faltering, returning level after winning four straight points. Nevertheless, the experience of Errani eventually got her over the finish line, clinching the tiebreak 9-7 after 65 minutes of play.

Sara Errani hits a forehand | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Sara Errani hits a forehand | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Errani strolls to victory

Errani had the perfect start to the second set as she carried over the momentum from the first set, breaking serve in the opening game as she took the early lead. Nevertheless, the inspired Japanese did not give up and instead broke straight back to return level. Despite some amazing offensive tennis played by Doi, Errani found a way to break serve once more and regain the lead. This time, she managed to consolidate the break as she held her serve comfortably for the first time in the final set.

Errani’s run then continued when she broke serve once more, taking a formidable 4-1 lead as Doi took a medical time-out for an injury. After the lengthy pause, Errani was not affected and continued to dictate play; holding her serve to 15 as she placed herself just one game away from the victory. In what seemed to be the injury causing all the problems, Doi was broken while serving to stay in the match and Errani took the second set without many obstacles and sealed the victory in straight sets after 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Misaki Doi serves | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Misaki Doi serves | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

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