French Open: Sorana Cirstea eases past Peng Shuai in straight sets

There was a minor upset on the outside courts of the French Open as Sorana Cirstea managed to outclass the resurgent Peng Shuai in straight sets, triumphing after just 59 minutes of play. The Romanian would now face Carla Suarez Navarro in the second round.

Cirstea takes the first set

Peng had the perfect start to the match as she earned two break points in the opening game with some of her powerful double-handed forehands, looking to take the early lead. However, Cirstea played some wonderful offensive style of tennis as she hit winners after winners to narrowly take the service game, preventing the Chinese from taking the lead. Peng would rue the missed opportunity as she threw away a 30-15 lead in her opening service game and allowed Cirstea to make the first breakthrough, jumping out to an early 2-0 advantage.

Sorana Cirstea celebrates winning a point | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Sorana Cirstea celebrates winning a point | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

The Romanian continued to stroll through the set as she held her serve comfortably, dictating play with some precise groundstrokes and eventually hitting a huge forehand winner to consolidate the break. Peng’s woes continued when she was easily broken for the second straight time, with Cirstea playing some world-class tennis also. There was a slip-up from the Romanian on her serve as she served two consecutive double faults to gift Peng one of the breaks back immediately, allowing the Chinese to lessen the deficit.

Peng then held her serve for the first time in the match, looking to mount a comeback as her double-handed groundstrokes started to make an effect in the match. Cirstea then got herself to just one game away from winning the first set after being unthreatened on her serve once more, regaining a three-game lead. Serving to stay in the set, Peng displayed some great mentality when she came from 0-30 down and fended off the tough challenge of Cirstea, holding serve eventually to keep herself in the set for at least one more game. However, all her hard work proved to be futile as Cirstea came up with some excellent tennis to seal the first set 6-3 in a tight service game after 36 minutes.

Peng Shuai in action at the Internazionali BNL D'Italia | Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images Europe
Peng Shuai in action at the Internazionali BNL D'Italia | Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images Europe

Cirstea strolls to victory

It was the worst possible start to the second set for Peng, who had to gain the momentum and mount a huge comeback if she were to have a chance to triumph. She was broken on her serve for the third time in the match as Cirstea came up with some powerful returns, looking better in every aspect. With the help of the unforced errors which came off the racquet of the Chinese, Cirstea consolidated the break and extended her lead on the scoreboard. Peng then got herself on the board when she managed to dictate play for a little while, holding her serve comfortably as she looked to make a fightback.

Cirstea continued to look dominant in her service games as she hit four consecutive winners to seal the hold of serve, holding onto her lead tightly. The win then certainly looked to be within the Romanian’s reach when she saved a game point to break in the fifth game, with Peng unable to handle the pace of her bullet-like shots. Cirstea then had a second successive love service hold to place herself just a game away from earning the confidence-boosting win. Serving to stay in the match, Peng was unable to put up a tough fight as Cirstea was just too good, breaking serve once more to seal the victory after just a mere 59 minutes, becoming the first victor of the day.

Sorana Cirstea and Peng Shuai exchange a handshake after the match | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Sorana Cirstea and Peng Shuai exchange a handshake after the match | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

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