Kvitova wins three-set French Open battle

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FRANCE TENNIS FRENCH OPEN 2018 GRAND SLAM

Petra Kvitova battled her way to a three-set win in the opening round of the French Open

Petra Kvitova flirted with an early exit but did enough to overcome Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg to move into the second round of the French Open.

The two-time Wimbledon champion fell behind after the first set but fought valiantly to progress 3-6 6-1 7-5 over the world No.89.

With the victory, Kvitova extends her fine form on the clay, having only lost twice on the surface this year.

The Czech Republic star, who is seeded eighth for the tournament, started well on her front foot with an aggressive forehand.

However, she was perhaps too eager to pull the trigger as her key weapon turned into a trap for unforced errors and a nervous double fault allowed Cepede Royg to break before a wide Kvitova forehand conceded the first set.

Kvitova came out firing in the second set and Cepede Royg wilted under the constant pressure and a set of quick serves pulled her back into the match.

The third set was approached with caution as both players held serve with compact defence until a lofted cross-court backhand gave Kvitova the key to a crucial break.

The Philippe Chatrier crowd roared as the two players engaged in a shoot-out rally, which was spiked by a Kvitova volley before a wide return confirmed her 22nd victory on the famous grand slam clay.

Kvitova's compatriot Katerina Siniakova joins her in round two after a comprehensive 7-5 7-5 win over former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka in a first French Open main draw win for the 22-year-old.

The 2013 semi-finalist lamented a lack of match practice as a court battle for the custody of her son takes its toll.

"Even though I am doing good things in practice, I'm not able to transfer it to the match," Azarenka told a post-match news conference.

"I'm pretty happy with the serve today. I just didn't use the opportunities I created with the serve. The first shot was not aggressive and giving me that feeling of going forward."

Japanese 21st seed Naomi Osaka is also through with a 6-2 7-5 triumph over American Sofia Kenin, Spain's Carla Suarez-Navarro cruised to a 6-0 6-1 victory over Croatian Ana Konjuh and Maria Sakkari of Greece booked her place with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win over Mandy Minella of Luxembourg.

American 13th seed Madison Keys was too good for compatriot Sachia Vickery, winning 6-3 6-3.