PARIS (REUTERS) – Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova managed to rein in her errors and found a way past battling Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif with a 6-7 (9-11), 6-2, 6-4 victory in the opening round of the French Open on Tuesday (Sept 29).
She had 27 unforced errors and hit six double faults in the first set under the open roof of Court Philippe Chatrier, as the 24-year-old Sherif, making her Grand Slam main draw debut, saved eight set points to win the opener in the tiebreaker.
The former world No. 1 improved drastically in the second to level the match with three breaks of her opponent’s service games and a crucial break in the seventh game of the decider proved enough.
Pliskova, 28, who retired in the final in Rome with injury before coming to Paris, sealed the match with an ace and will next meet 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko, who earlier defeated American Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-1.
Teenage Danish qualifier Clara Tauson, meanwhile, caused a shock as she beat American 21st seed Jennifer Brady 6-4, 3-6, 9-7.
The powerful 17-year-old, making her main draw debut in Grand Slams with a ranking of 188, played fearless tennis to edge out the recent US Open semi-finalist.
Tauson served for the match at 7-6 but failed to take any of three match points, the last one when her attempted drop shot hit the tape and fell agonisingly back on her side.
But she refused to let her chance slide and broke Brady again before clinching victory on her fifth match point.
This year’s Australian Open junior champion blasted 48 winners throughout the contest as she added her name to the list of rising young stars in the women’s game.