Fourth seed Petra Kvitova struggled into the French Open second round on Tuesday as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams waited to make their 2015 Roland Garros entrances.
Wimbledon champion Kvitova needed two and a half hours to see off New Zealand’s world No.80 Marina Erakovic 6-4 3-6 6-4, getting broken six times and committing 47 unforced errors.
The 25-year-old goes on to face either France’s Pauline Parmentier or Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain for a place in the last 32.
Kvitova was a semi-finalist in Paris in 2012 and had clinched the claycourt title in Madrid earlier this month.
But she struggled throughout large parts of Tuesday’s match against an opponent she had previously defeated four times out of four.
She trailed by a break in the first set before recovering and was quickly a double break down in the second.
Kvitova was twice a break to the good in the decider but the Croatian-born Erakovic battled back to 4-4 before the Czech finally sealed the tie.
“It was a very close, tough match but I always expect that at the beginning of a tournament,” said Kvitova.
“Until the last point it was a difficult match for me and Marina played very well.”
Meanwhile, Spain’s David Ferrer won his 300th claycourt match when he swept past Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko.
Ferrer, 33 and seeded seven, won 6-1 6-3 6-1 to become just the second active player behind Nadal to win 300 matches on the surface.
Ferrer, the Roland Garros runner-up in 2013, goes on to face compatriot Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
“It’s not important,” said Ferrer of his landmark moment.
“It’s just a number. But of course, it’s a lot of matches playing on a clay court, and if nothing else I can be proud of that.”
Croatia’s Marin Cilic, the ninth-seeded US Open champion, defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-2 6-4 6-2.
Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion, beat Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-1 4-6 6-2 and could face 2010 winner Francesca Schiavone in the next round should the Italian see off China’s Qiang Wang.
But the United States’ misery continued when defeats for Coco Vandeweghe and Taylor Townsend meant 11 American women failed to get out of the first round.