Paris (dpa) – When the defeat was foreseeable, Andrea Petkovic felt a deep disappointment. “I was totally sad that the game was over so quickly,” said the 33-year-old tennis player after her first round at the French Open on Monday.
It was 3: 6, 3: 6 after just 73 minutes against the Bulgarian Zwetana Pironkowa. “I played really well in training, so it’s frustrating,” said the Darmstadt native.
Once again, Petkovic had fought his way back to the tour after an injury break. For the former top ten player, it was the first match since October 2019. After that, she had to pause because of knee problems and even had knee surgery in February. She had not attended the US Open. On the one hand, because she wanted to be there at her sister’s wedding, but on the other hand, so as not to force the injured knee to switch from Hartcourt to clay court.
But against Pironkowa, who last caused a sensation at the US Open in New York with the quarter-finals after three years of maternity leave, Petkovic clearly noticed the lack of match practice. The Hessin moved badly and had big problems with her own serve. She gave her service six times in total. “I would have liked her to get into the game better and then find her rhythm,” said Barbara Rittner, women’s boss at the German Tennis Association, as an expert at Eurosport.
But apart from a few passages in which Petkovic showed her potential, the Paris semi-finalist from 2014 had no chance. “She played a very good match, but unfortunately I didn’t,” said Petkovic with an ice pack on his left knee in the subsequent press conference.
Still, Petkovic is not thinking about the end of his career. Rather, she is already looking to the year 2021, in which she “wants to attack again”, as she announced on Monday. “My focus will now be on recovering well and then preparing well for the new season,” said the Fed Cup player.
In return, she would also be prepared to spend Christmas in quarantine in Australia. The corona plans of the organizers of the Australian Open currently provide for this for players who want to start in Melbourne in January 2021. “Then at least I can escape the bad weather in Germany,” said Petkovic. “You always have to see the positive.”
With Tamara Korpatsch, the third German player after Petkovic and Anna-Lena Friedsam has also been eliminated. The 25-year-old from Hamburg clearly lost 2: 6, 0: 6 against the American Amanda Anisimova. The one-sided game lasted only 59 minutes. The 19-year-old American had surprisingly reached the semi-finals in Paris last year.
On the way to her longed-for 24th Grand Slam title, Serena Williams has mastered the opening hurdle at the French Open after a few wobbles at the beginning. Two days after her 39th birthday, the American beat her compatriot Kristie Ahn 7: 6 (7: 2), 6: 0. After the first set on the Philippe Chatrier court had lasted 72 minutes, Williams gave her opponent no chance in the second round.
The long-time number one in the world is now facing Petkovic conqueror Pironkowa. At the US Open in New York, Williams won the duel in the quarterfinals.
In the men’s category, US Open champion Dominic Thiem reached the second round without much effort. The Austrian prevailed against the Croatian Marin Cilic 6: 4, 6: 3, 6: 3. The 27-year-old showed a sovereign performance two weeks after winning his first Grand Slam title and made progress after 2:06 hours. In the past two years, Thiem had lost in Paris in the final against Rafael Nadal.