Zhang Shuai was up against Andrea Petkovic in the first round at Wimbledon. The Chinese was still looking for a main draw match win at Wimbledon and she was made to wait for it as Petkovic took out the 31st seed with a hard fought win in two hours.
Petkovic takes the set with a single break
Petkovic is the first to break serve in the third game courtesy of some errors off the racket of Zhang. The Chinese tried to break back pushing the German to deuce but Petkovic hung on to lead 3-1. Zhang followed it up with a solid service game showing that she is not out of this yet. On her part, the German remain composed and continued maintaining her lead. With the next few games going on serve, it was soon time for Petkovic to serve out the set. The 31st seed, however, did not make it easy for the German. Petkovic though was able to carve out her first set point wrong-footing the Chinese. Zhang managed to snuff it out but faced set point yet again. And this time the world number 95 sealed the first set 6-4 rifling a backhand winner.
Zhang fights back
The second set saw a turnaround for Zhang. The Chinese finally finding a breakthrough on the German’s serve setting up a couple of break points as early as in the second game. She needed no second invitation as she grabbed the early break and consolidated with ease to build up a 3-0 lead. Petkovic got on to the board with a tough hold before breaking Zhang’s serve after a sloppy play from the Chinese to get back on serve. However, serving to make it three games all, the German gave Zhang the opportunity to break her again. And on her second chance, the 31st seed broke once again to lead 4-2, with her forehand too much for Petkovic to handle.
The match was heating up with neither player seemingly able to hold serve. Petkovic with some amazing returns got herself triple break points to get back into the set. Zhang tried to fight back but could only save two of them as Petkovic broke back to reduce the gap to 3-4. The string of breaks eventually come to an end as the German held her serve to level the set at 4-4. Petkovic raised her level up a notch and an unfortunate double fault handed the German a couple of chances to break for a crucial lead. The 31st seed barely showed signs of nerve and was able to fend off both of them before coming up with an important hold to go 5-4 ahead.
The pressure was now on the German who had to serve to stay in the set. And it showed as the errors gave Zhang triple set points. Petkovic saved the first of those but eventually succumbed to allow the Chinese to level the match with a set apiece.
Petkovic comes through a topsy-turvy third set
Petkovic regrouped and immediately broke Zhang’s serve for an early break. The Chinese’s woes continued as she went down a second break allowing the German to a race to a 3-0 lead. Zhang, however, was not done fighting and she came up with some huge shots to get one of the breaks back for 1-3. But her struggles on serve continued and Petkovic snatched at the chance to go 4-1 up.
It was beginning to look a lot like the second set with both having a tough time on serve. The Chinese showed heart once again as despite having game point the German couldn’t hold and Zhang closed the gap to 2-4. Frustration was mounting for the Chinese who just could not seem to get a grip on her service games. Petkovic putting all the pressure and it paid off allowing her to break for a 5-2 to within a game from victory. Zhang almost got herself a lifeline as Petkovic struggled but couldn’t convert any of the break points and the German set up match point for herself. She couldn’t take it though and Zhang ripped a forehand to give herself another chance. The German rescued again and it was turning into a long game. With break points and match points coming and going, Petkovic finally got the job done on her third match point to seal a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory.