'So sad': French Open rocked by devastating Petra Kvitova accident

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Petra Kvitova, pictured here in action during the first round at the French Open.
Petra Kvitova in action during the first round at the French Open. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Petra Kvitova has become the second high-profile withdrawal from the French Open after suffering a freak injury while performing post-match media commitments.

Kvitova became the second grand slam champion to withdraw from Roland Garros on Tuesday following Naomi Osaka's sad announcement on Monday.

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Czech 11th seed Kvitova, who made the French Open semi-finals in 2012 and 2020, had saved a match point in her first-round win over Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen on Sunday.

However she announced on Tuesday that she'd suffered a freak ankle injury after falling during her "post-match press requirements".

"It is with great disappointment that I announce my withdrawal from Roland Garros," said the 31-year-old.

"During my post-match press requirements on Sunday I fell and hurt my ankle. 

"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 two-time Wimbledon champion has had little luck with injuries during her career, having missed five months after being injured in a knife attack at her home in 2016.

Kvitova said she was hoping to be back in time for a tilt at a third Wimbledon title to add to the ones she won in 2011 and 2014.

"It's incredibly bad luck, but I will stay strong and do my best to recover in time for the grass-court season," she added.

Fans were left devastated by the sad news.

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Venus Williams joins grand slam champion exodus

Meanwhile, Venus Williams became the eighth female grand slam champion to exit the French Open in the first round on Tuesday.

The oldest woman at Roland Garros this year, Williams was knocked out in the first round for the fourth year running.

The 40-year-old exited after being beaten 6-3 6-1 by Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova, joining a mass exodus of former grand slam champions.

As well as Osaka and Kvitova's withdrawals, fellow grand slam champions Angelique Kerber, Bianca Andreescu, Garbine Muguruza, Jelena Ostapenko and Svetlana Kuznetsova also suffered first-round losses.

Petra Kvitova, pictured here in action against Greet Minnen at the French Open.
Petra Kvitova in action against Greet Minnen at the French Open. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

And World No.1 Ash Barty almost became the ninth, overcoming an injury scare and strong challenge from Bernarda Pera to win 6-4 3-6 6-2.

It was the Aussie star's first match at Roland Garros since she claimed the 2019 French Open title after deciding not to defend the title last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 title was won by Poland's Iga Swiatek, who will play her second round match against Rebecca Peterson on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Australian Open runner-up Jennifer Brady breezed past Anastasija Sevastova to reach the second round and match her best performance at the French Open.

The 13th-seeded American, who has never reached the third round at Roland Garros, won 6-3, 6-3 after breaking Sevastova at love in the final game.

And American teenager Coco Gauff won her first match as a seeded player at grand slam level, erasing set points before pulling out the opening tiebreaker and going on to beat Aleksandra Krunic 7-6 (11), 6-4.

with AAP

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