Kiki Bertens lost her first game at WTA level since February. Eighth in the world rankings, Bertens crashed on the gravel of Rome in two sets against the Slovenian Polona Hercog, the number fifty in the world.
Bertens lost in the second round (she was cleared for the first round) 4-6, 4-6. In the first set Bertens didn‘t get into her rhythm, made simple mistakes and came 5-0 behind.
In the fifth game, in which she managed to clear six breakpoints, there were already signs of recovery. She won the next four games, but the set went to the Slovenian.
Bertens went 3-0 in the second set, but then went off course again. She didn’t get Hercog under any more pressure and she only lost one game.
The lack of match rhythm broke Bertens. “I didn’t feel it, it’s so different from training. I didn’t know what to expect, there’s nothing I can do about it”
“I started very badly, tried to work myself in the match, but the line is still very thin”
Bertens did participate in a demonstration tournament in Berlin in July, but missed the US Open earlier this month. A trip to New York did not fit in with her preparations for Roland Garros.
Her favourite grand slam tournament, in which she reached the semi-finals in 2016, starts in a week and a half. “I’m going home tomorrow to prepare myself. We’re going to play a lot of practice and hope things will go better there. But it’s hard to find the rhythm,” Bertens says.
Russian also eliminated
Earlier in the day, Arantxa Rus also failed to reach the third round in Rome. The Czech Markéta Vondrousová, the number 19 in the world, blocked Russia’s way with 6-3, 6-3.