Women’s 10th seed Petra Kvitova was among the early starters on the first day of the rain-hit French Open and was nearly sent packing in the opening skirmish on Philippe Chatrier Court.
The twice Wimbledon champion came within a game of defeat by Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, but eventually won 6-2 4-6 7-5 in two hours 16 minutes, watched by ticket holders wrapped up in colourful anoraks and with a multitude of umbrellas primed for action.
Kvitova, a semi-finalist in 2012, began confidently in light drizzle that followed the torrential early-morning rain, but from a position of strength got bogged down on the damp clay.
Kovinic served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but Kvitova roused herself to rattle off three games in a row.
“Definitely the serve,” Kvitova, who racked up 10 double faults, said when asked what she needed to improve on.
Fellow Czech Lucie Safarova, a surprise runner-up last year to Serena Williams, dropped only two games as she made short work of Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko.
Play for the day was called off amid continuing rain at about 6.30pm local time, with only 10 of the 32 scheduled matches completed.
Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, the women’s fourth seed, did not make it on court for her match against Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.