French
Open: Petra Kvitova defeats Oceane Dodin to make second round
Petra Kvitova is safely through to the second round of the French Open, for the ninth appearances in a row. Photo: Tim Clayton

Petra Kvitova, seeded seventh at this year’s French Open, has sailed through her opening-round match in straights sets, seeing off French number five Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-5.

The Czech, who saw her first round match of the tournament scheduled first for the day on Court Philippe Chatrier for her fifth consecutive appearance in Paris, however, did not always have things her way against the equally big-hitting Dodin.

Kvitova’s win also sees 2020 joining the 2012, 2017 and 2019 seasons of the Czech’s career where she has won all her first round matches at the Grand Slam level throughout the year in straight sets.

Kvitova scores decisive break to take first set

Playing under the newly-installed roof, the seventh-seeded Kvitova began the match with a comfortable service hold to love, Dodin following suit next. The next three service games all saw holds of serve, until the next game when Kvitova had her sights on her first break point of the match. Her French opponent, however, forced a couple of errors from her racket to record the service hold, and level the score a three games apiece.

The next Kvitova service game saw the Czech hit two aces en route to another love service hold. Kvitova would rack up a further two break point chances in the next game and was successful this time as a forced error from the racket of Dodin gave the Czech the crucial break of serve. Kvitova would then face no problem shutting the first set, which took 30 minutes to complete.

Dodin was unable to do much damage on the Kvitova serve in the match despite breaking the Czech's serve once. Photo: TPN
Dodin was unable to do much damage on the Kvitova serve in the match despite breaking the Czech's serve once. Photo: TPN

Dodin keeps battling but Kvitova too strong in the end

Kvitova started the second set strong, breaking Dodin once more, this time with a double fault from the French player’s racket. This lead, however, was shortlived as Dodin would break right back in the next game, converting her sole break chance of the entire match with a backhand winner.

Dodin stayed with Kvitova for most of the second set, going toe-to-toe with the two-time Grand Slam champion, even saving break point on two occasions, the second of those coming at 4-4, courtesy of a Kvitova unforced error. Kvitova then had no plans to see the match go the distance as she delivered another love hold of serve in the next game to level the score at 5-5.

From there, the Czech turned up her level by a notch as she successfully broke her opponent’s serve in the next game, earning herself the opportunity to close out the match. She did so without much problems, surrendering just one point in the game while serving two aces and producing two winners, the latter winner being a smash to convert match point, and record her 24th career win of the tournament, after 77 minutes of play.

Both players tap rackets at the net after the conclusion of their match. Photo: Martin Bureau
Both players tap rackets at the net after the conclusion of their match. Photo: Martin Bureau

Kvitova was the better server of the day, producing a whooping eight aces to just one double fault. The Czech also won 86% of points on her first serve, and 61% behind her second. She also hit 30 winners throughout the contest to 14 unforced errors.

Dodin, on the other hand, despite recording a near-equal first serve percentage to Kvitova (65 to 67) as well as a decent percentage of first serve points won, 73, was let down on her second delivery as the Frenchwoman dished five double faults, and won only eight out of 24 points behind her second serve overall. Dodin’s 22 unforced errors, outweighing 13 winners, also proved costly.  

Up next

Kvitova will take on young Italian Jasmine Paolini in the next round. Paolini, who scored her career’s maiden Grand Slam win, in the opening round against Aliona Bolsova, will be in uncharted territory, as the seventh-seeded Kvitova looks to get her 25th win of the tournament in bag, and advance to the last 32 here for the eighth time in nine appearances.

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