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French Open: Pliskova survives Andrianjafitrimo scare; Ostapenko, Collins advance

Paris, May 24 (IANS) Karolina Pliskova came from a set down to beat wildcard Tessah Andrianjafitrimo in the first round of French Open, while Jelena Ostapenko and Danielle Collins raced through in straight sets here on Tuesday.

No.8 seed Czech Pliskova had to come from a set down to beat surging wildcard French player Andrianjafitrimo 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 in 2 hours and 3 minutes to reach the second round of Roland Garros.

Advancing more straightforwardly were former champion Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, who defeated Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-4 in 67 minutes while Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins of America, who stormed past Viktoriya Tomova 6-0, 6-4 in 71 minutes.

Pliskova has struggled to find form since fracturing her wrist during the off-season. The former World No.1 returned to action in March, and her season record coming into Paris was just 5-7. But a semifinal run in Strasbourg last week was a promising sign, and Pliskova took another step in the right direction here.

Andrianjafitrimo, 23, is currently ranked at a career high of No.141, and was bidding to join a succession of low-ranked French players who had pulled off first-round upsets the previous day. Diane Parry had led the way by stunning defending champion Barbora Krejcikova in three sets, and wildcards Elsa Jacquemot and Leolia Jeanjean had followed her into the second round.

Pliskova will next face Jeanjean as she seeks to return to the third round for the first time since 2019.

Andrianjafitrimo impressed with the breadth of her game in the first set, demonstrating fine reflexes at the net as well as deft touch on the dropshot. Seeking her first tour-level victory, she kept Pliskova off-balance by mixing up biting slice with heavy topspin. As Andrianjafitrimo charged out to a 5-1 lead, Pliskova had required seven break points just to get on the board.

But despite Pliskova’s 22 unforced errors in the opening set, she started to shift momentum towards its close. Andrianjafitrimo needed five set points to close it out, and Pliskova began to find her range on her forehand. The Czech took this into the second set, building a 4-1 double-break lead.

No.13 seed Ostapenko is one of three former champions in the top sixteenth of the draw, along with Iga Swiatek and Simona Halep, and she delivered a worthy performance to kick off her campaign.

The Latvian had come into Paris on a five-match losing streak stretching back to February, but her form against Bronzetti was reminiscent of her electrifying tennis in the Middle East that had immediately preceded this slump. Ostapenko rained winners from every corner of the court as she raced into a 6-1, 3-0, 30-0 lead.

An overrule of a serve she had thought was an ace derailed her momentum slightly. Bronzetti, who had reached her first WTA semifinal in Rabat last week, sensed opportunity. The No.73-ranked Italian had not managed to hit a winner in the first set, but began unleashing her forehand to gain one of the breaks back.

–IANS

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