With play washed out on Monday at both the Viking International Eastbourne and Wimblebon qualifying at Roehampton, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber reached the second round in Bad Homburg under sunny German skies.
I felt kind of a mix of emotions. I was pretty happy to be back on the grass. On the other hand, I thought I was probably going to play a little bit better. It was my third hit after my injury, so i probably expected a little bit more from myself than I really showed today. In the end I won, so that’s a pretty good result. I found a few games where I really played good grass tennis, and that’s what I will have to take with me. Petra Kvitova
In England, play was abandoned shortly after 3pm at Eastbourne, leaving Tuesday’s schedule packed, with 28 singles matches and 16 doubles matches to be played.
Britain’s Heather Watson faces Iga Swiatek, the World No 9 from Poland, while compatriot Harriet Dart takes on Elena Rybakina from Kazakstan.
The weather forecast for Tuesday is still a little unsettled for Eastbourne but looks dry for Wimbledon qualifying, where first-round matches are scheduled for both women and men.
Players warming up for the grass-court Grand Slam abroad had better luck with the weather, with former Wimbledon champions Kvitova and Kerber winning their opening matches at the inaugural Bad Homburg Open presented by Engel & Völkers.
Czech top seed Kvitova, 31, who returns to the tour after injuring her ankle at this month’s French Open following a media interview, had to come from behind to beat Polish qualifier Katarzyna Piter, 4-6 6-1 6-4, while German 4th seed Kerber took just 50 minutes to dispatch Russian Ekaterina Yashina, 6-1 6-1.
It took Kvitova nearly 2 hours to fight her way back from a set down and an early break in the final set but she came through, firing 10 aces while dropping serve three times.
It was a stern test for the 2-time Wimbledon champion delivered by the World No 387, who was playing in her first WTA main draw since 2018.
In the opening set, Piter earned a break point in the 7th game with a lob winner, converted her chance to take a 4-3 lead and did not face another break point to pocket it.
Kvitova bounced back, though, using her powerful game to race through the second set without turmoil, breaking twice in the 2nd and 6th games to win it with the loss of just 1 game, but the Pole continued to press, drawing a clutch of forehand errors from the Czech to take an early 2-0 lead in the decisive third set.
The top seed then broke 3 times in the next 5 games to take a 4-3 lead and earned a match point at 5-3, which Piter saved to hold her serve.
Double-faults on Kvitova’s next 2 match points at 5-4 delayed the outcome but she struck her 10th ace on her 4th match point to seal the win, setting up a second round match against American Ann Li, who defeated Anna Zaja, a German qualifier, 6-0 6-4.
“I felt kind of a mix of emotions,” Kvitova said. “I was pretty happy to be back on the grass.
“On the other hand, I thought I was probably going to play a little bit better. It was my third hit after my injury, so i probably expected a little bit more from myself than I really showed today.
“In the end I won, so that’s a pretty good result. I found a few games where I really played good grass tennis, and that’s what I will have to take with me.”
In her opener, Kerber cruised past Yashina with ease, the 3-time Grand Slam champion breaking twice in the first set and three times in the second.
“It’s a great feeling to win the first match, especially here in Bad Homburg, which is a really special tournament fot me,” she said. “To play in front of the home crowd, it’s always something I am looking forward to and really excited about.”
The former World No 1 looked strong on the grass, the surface on which she won the 3rd of her 3 Grand Slam titles, at Wimbledon in 2018.
She won nearly three-quarters of her first-service points and went 9-for-10 winning points off of Yashina’s second serve.
“It was a good win for me, and I was feeling really well on the center court tonight,” Kerber said.
She meets Anna Blinkova next, after the Russian defeated Danish teenager Clara Tauson 7-6(4) 4-6 6-2 earlier on Monday.
Another German, No 8 seed Laura Siegemund, had to fight past a lucky loser to book her spot in the second round in her home country.
The World No 55 needed just over 2 hours to eke past India’s Riya Bhatia, 2-6 7-6(2) 6-1.
Bhatia, ranked 362, twice led by a set and a break in her tour-level main-draw debut, before Siegemund surged back to zip through the second set tiebreak and eventually claim the win.
No 3 seed Jessica Pegula of the United States had no such problems defeating 264th-ranked Amandine Hesse of France, 6-1 6-2, in 65 minutes.
Rounding out Monday’s first-round results, Alizé Cornet of France defeated Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, 6-3 2-6 6-1, and No 7 seed Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain beat Martina Trevisan of Italy, 6-4 3-6 6-2.