It took until the 10th match point, but No. 11 seed Jessica Pegula finished off Wang Qiang of China 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday in Paris.
Pegula held a 5-1 lead in the second set when Qiang began to rally. She broke the American’s serve to make it 5-2 and staved off three match points to win another game and make it 5-3.
Pegula failed to convert on another three match points in the next game, and Qiang kept battling in the 10th game of the set before Pegula finally broke through.
“I felt like she totally changed her game from like (6-2), 5-1 and maybe I played a little bit of a loose game at 5-1 serving for it,” Pegula said after the match. “On the clay I feel like you have so much more time and you don’t get a lot of free points, so if someone starts playing well, it can get really tricky. She just started stepping in and started ripping … We had some really great match points and even to finish.”
She still saved six of nine break points, while Qiang saved 10 of 16.
Pegula was one of six American women to win their matches Tuesday. No. 9 seed Danielle Collins had a much easier time, defeating Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-4. She had 30 winners to Tomova’s seven.
Next up for Collins is fellow American Shelby Rogers, who defeated Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3.
No. 22 seed Madison Keys needed three sets to knock out Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Madison Brengle defeated Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1, 6-2, and qualifier Katie Volynets took down Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.
Four of the top 10 seeds in the women’s draw had made first-round exits, but the tide turned on Tuesday.
No. 3 Paula Badosa of Spain eliminated Fiona Ferro of France in quick fashion 6-2, 6-0. No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus rallied to beat France’s Chloe Paquet 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, and No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic needed three sets and just over two hours to defeat French wildcard Tessah Andrianjafitrimo 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Other seeded winners included No. 13 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, the 2017 French Open champion; Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, the 16th seed; Daria Kasatkina of Russia, the 20th seed; No. 24 Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia, a 2021 semifinalist in Paris; No. 28 Camila Giorgi of Italy; and Russian No. 30 Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Former world No. 1 Simona Halep of Romania battled German 18-year-old Nastasja Schunk and prevailed 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.
“In the third set, I restarted everything,” Halep said. “I just fought for every ball. I restarted in my mind. I did what I had to do, and I felt more confident, I felt better, so I found the rhythm.”
–Field Level Media
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