Grass court’s premier tournament got underway Monday. Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova became the first seed to fall when she lost in straight sets to Sloane Stephens of the USA. A former champion at SW19, Kvitova was beaten by the better player all round. She had the reputation but Stephens had the hunger. Kvitova did break Sloane’s serve in the very first game but that didn’t dump the American’s spirit. Watch the break point the Czech won on deuce. When she utilizes that forehand she is unstoppable. Sadly she didn’t employ it often enough in this game.
Sloane’s serve was better slightly though, with a first serve percentage of 59% to 58% Kvitova. Petra’s downfall was the unforced errors at crucial times. Watch 3-2(40-30) the break point Sloane converted. The Czech labored to make returns when shots were straight at her on the baseline. Second set it was Sloane’s turn to look nervous. Watch 3-2(30-0). The rally looked to have ended in the American’s favor but she hit the forehand inexplicably wide probably trying too hard to be fancy there. A simple shot inside the court even if it was straight at Petra would have done the trick because Petra was scrambling. Coincidentally the same game id the one Petra shot herself in the foot in. Leading 40-0 she blew it and allowed Sloane to force the game to deuce and eventually hold serve which was crucial in terms of the outlook of the match. Stephens went on to break Petra in the next game, those unforced errors making a cameo again for the Czech. That break was enough for Sloane to seal the victory. A huge win for the American from a tough opening game in London.