PARIS – Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty fended off a second-set fightback from Bernarda Pera, beating the American 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to move into the second round at Roland Garros on Tuesday.
Fifth seed Elina Svitolina bounced back from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to defeat teenage wildcard Oceane Babel 6-2, 7-5 in earlier action.
But it was an unfortunate story for last year’s semifinalist Petra Kvitova as the Czech 11th seed was forced to withdraw from the tournament after picking up an ankle injury during her “post-match press requirements.”
“It is with great disappointment that I announce my withdrawal from Roland Garros. During my post-match press requirements on Sunday I fell and hurt my ankle,” the two-time Wimbledon champion wrote on Twitter. “Unfortunately, after an MRI and much discussion with my team, I have made the tough decision that it would be unwise to play on it.”
The world No 12 came through her opening round encounter against Greetje Minnen 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-1 to set up a second-round meeting with Elena Vesnina.
Barty, who skipped the French Open in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, returned to the clay Grand Slam with a three-set win over Pera. The Australian arrived in Paris in good form, winning the title in Stuttgart and reaching the final in Madrid.
Striving for her second Roland Garros title after winning in 2019, Barty will face off against the winner between Magda Linette of Poland and French wildcard Chloe Paquet.