BRENGLE WINS THRILLER ON
FRENCH OPEN DAY 1
Ashley Marshall | May 28, 2017
It may only be the first day of play in the French capital, but American 27-year-old Madison Brengle is already in contention for match of the tournament.
Brengle battled from a set down to outlast Germany's Julia Goerges in a first-round epic, 1-6, 6-3, 13-11, on the red clay of Roland Garros.
The marathon win advances Brengle, whose best Grand Slam performance came when she reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2015, into the second round of the French Open for the first time.
That run in Melbourne two-and-a-half years ago marked the only other time Brengle rallied from a set down to win a Grand Slam match. In Australia, Brengle defeated Andrea Petkovic in three sets.
Brengle lost the first set after dropping serve four consecutive times, but she sent the match into a decider after breaking Goerges on four occasions in the second. ADVERTISEMENT
That was only the start of the drama, though. Goerges saved two match points at 5-6 in the third set and then had a chance to serve for it two games later, at 7-6.
Nine consecutive holds saw the match move to 12-11, and Brengle finally punched her ticket to the second round with a decisive break in the 24th game of the set, which took an hour and 45 minutes to complete.
The Delaware native struggled to win points on her first serve, just 54 percent for the match, but she returned well, broke Goerges nine times and countered the German's aggressive net game efficiently from the baseline. Next up for Brengle is No. 30 seed Timea Bacsinszky.
Also winning on Day 1 was French Open veteran Venus Williams, who beat Qiang Wang of China, 6-4, 7-6. Williams trailed 5-3 in the second set, but she rallied to force a tiebreak and claimed six of the final seven points to secure the victory. Her reward is a second-round encounter with Kurumi Nara.
Williams, who turns 37 next month, first competed in Paris in 1997, when she reached the second round in her Grand Slam debut. The 2002 finalist has also been to four quarterfinals at Roland Garros, the last coming in 2006.
Between reaching the semifinals of the 2010 US Open and the quarterfinals of the 2015 French Open, Williams did not advance past the fourth round at any major. But the seven-time Slam champion has found a new lease of her tennis life recently, making the last eight in three of the past six majors, including the quarters of the 2015 US Open, the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2016 and the final of the Australian Open in January.
Elsewhere on Day 1, Shelby Rogers beat New Zealand's Marina Erakovic, 7-6, 6-4, and qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Russia's Evgeniya Rodina, 7-5, 6-2. Rogers will face Cagla Buyukakcay, who upset No. 22 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, in Round 2, while Mattek-Sands will face No. 15 seed Petra Kvitova.
Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, defeated Julia Boserup, 6-3, 6-2, in her first match back since she was injured in a knife attack in December
In other first-round action, No. 8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia toppled Christina McHale 7-5, 6-4, Nara beat 15-year-old USTA French Open wild-card winner Amanda Anisimova, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, to deny an all-American matchup with Williams on Tuesday, and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko rallied to beat Louisa Chirico, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
On the men's side, Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan toppled the men's winner of the USTA French Open wild card, Tennys Sandgren, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
In the final match of the day, No. 25 seed Steve Johnson's match against Yuichi Sugita was suspended with Johnson up two sets to one, but down a break in the fourth. It will be played to a finish on Monday.