Elena Vesnina finally managed to stop her losing streak as she earned a confidence-boosting victory over the in-form Beatriz Haddad Maia in the first round of the French Open, triumphing in three tough sets.
Vesnina strolls to win the first set
Vesnina had the perfect start to the match as she came up with some solid groundstrokes, hitting some powerful winners to get the first break of the match in the opening game. A couple of strong serves then allowed the Russian to hold her serve and consolidate the break, opening up an early 2-0 lead. Having the golden opportunity to extend her lead, Vesnina earned two break points in the third game. Determined to stop the rout, Haddad Maia came up with some impressive offensive style of tennis and found a way back into the game, eventually holding her serve narrowly to lessen the deficit. Vesnina then kept her lead secure when she comfortably held her serve, regaining a two-game lead.
The Russian’s powerful returns then earned her yet another break of service, extending her lead to three games and allowed her to look on course to win the first set. Playing some perfect, consistent and solid tennis, Vesnina consolidated the break once more and placed herself just one game away from winning the first set. Serving to stay in the set, Haddad Maia managed to get a consolation game as she comfortably held her serve, forcing Vesnina to serve out the set. The higher-ranked player did not disappoint as she strolled to holding her service game, sealing the first set 6-2 after just 30 minutes of play.
Haddad Maia fights back
Haddad Maia began her comeback trail in the first game of the second set, holding her serve comfortably and looked much more consistent behind her groundstrokes. Unexpectedly, it was the Brazilian who made the first breakthrough in the second set as she managed to force errors out of Vesnina, looking poised to send the match into a deciding set. Consolidating the break in a tight service game, Haddad Maia had to save a couple of break points before extending her lead to three games.
Prevailing in a marathon game, Vesnina found a way back as she fended off multiple break points to lessen the deficit and gain the momentum. This then allowed her to break back in the seventh game as she managed to return level on serve after coming from 1-4 down to do so. Nevertheless, Haddad Maia maintained her composure and broke straight back to love, earning the golden opportunity to serve the set out. This time, she did not disappoint as she held her serve, leveling the match at one set all.
Vesnina almost gets pegged back
Maintaining her composure, Vesnina started the final set on a positive note as some spectacular offensive play earned her the love service hold in the opening game. Haddad Maria had to battle in her first service game, relying on some unforced errors by the Russian to prevail narrowly and level the score. Saving a break point in the process, Vesnina held a tight service game to remain on serve. Haddad Maia failed to keep up the high level of play as she hit three consecutive unforced errors to end the next game with, gifting Vesnina the first break of the final set. The Russian then easily consolidated the break of serve, extending her lead to three games.
With the momentum, the world number 15 got herself just one game away from victory as she broke serve for the second straight time, looking on course for her first win in five matches. However, she had to wait for a little while more to seal the win as unforced errors started to come off her racquet, allowing Haddad Maia to get one break back. The comeback looked to be possible when the Brazilian held her serve before Vesnina hit three unforced errors in the game to throw away the second break of serve, with Haddad Maia back level on serve all of sudden. Serving to stay in the match, the underdog was unable to go against the determined Vesnina, who eventually powered through in 2 hours and 12 minutes.