There was a bittersweet ending to the first round match at the French Open between Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Patricia Maria Tig. Tig, who has been struggling with a back injury throughout the match, was forced to retire from the match at the start of the second set, looking in great pain as her movements were limited.
Pavlyuchenkova overcomes slow start
Pavlyuchenkova had a slow start to the match as she looked a little wobbly in her groundstrokes, producing several unforced errors to start the match with. Tig earned two break points but was unable to convert as the Russian came up with some good serving at the crucial moments, and eventually prevailed in the marathon opening game to get on the scoreboard narrowly.
Another lengthy game followed as this time it was Tig who struggled on her serve but still managed to save a break point despite looking visibly injured, with some strapping around her right knee being strapped. Pavlyuchenkova did not get affected by the miss of that break point, holding her serve without facing a break point for the first time in the match. Her powerful groundstrokes seemed to have taken a toll on Tig’s knee injury, who was overwhelmed by them and struggling to move around the court, causing her to be broken in the next game which gave Pavlyuchenkova a 3-1 lead.
The huge favourite then consolidated the break of serve comfortably, extending her lead to three games as she looked poised for the victory. It was the changeover at 4-1 which saw Tig receive a medical time-out, though it was for her back despite her knee being strapped heavily. The injury looked to have affected her greatly as Pavlyuchenkova managed to break serve once more, taking a formidable 5-1 lead and earning the golden opportunity to serve out the set. Serving for the set, the Russian held her serve comfortably as she clinched the first set 6-1 after 38 minutes, with Tig still being troubled by her injury.
Tig forced to throw in the white towel
Looking very uncomfortable on the court, Tig’s service motion and movements around the court were also affected as she was broken to love in the opening game of the second set. Expectedly, Tig retired during the changeover because the pain was too unbearable to continue playing, and the retirement gave Pavlyuchenkova the ticket into the second round where she would face Veronica Cepede Royg, who defeated her good friend and familiar foe Lucie Safarova in the opening round.