French Open to start with Petra Kvitova's return to court

Grigor Dimitrov has won his first match in four years at the French Open to reach the second round

Kvitova played remarkably well considering the circumstances and showed the weight of the occasion only at the end, dropping her racket to the clay and turning to her support camp with hand over mouth in disbelief.

"Courage was everything I needed to come back and play here".

Her team members were all on their feet, dressed in t-shirts that had the words "Courage".

Consequently, the two-times Wimbledon champions initially pencilled in the All England Championships for her return when she was finally able to hit a ball again in March. 'It felt weird, but great, as well, of course!'

There was another rapid exchange of breaks before Makarova sealed the result on her first match point with a forehand down the line after recovering from 40-0 down. I'm glad with how I played.

Emergency surgery - nearly four hours long - helped fix damage to the Czech's tendons and nerves and she has been battling back to fitness ever since.

Paris: Petra Kvitova swept to a tearful French Open victory on Sunday in her first match since surviving a horrifying knife attack which nearly ended her career.

"I think it doesn't really matter how I played", but I won, Kvitova said.

The 27-year-old, who dropped her racket and hid some tears behind her hands after match point, had spent five months out of the game since undergoing emergency surgery in December when she was stabbed during a burglary.

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"The first point was wonderful", she said. She saved all three break points she faced and was 7/8 at the net.

"I maybe thought I would cry when I stepped on the court, but I didn't, which actually I was happy [about], because normally I can control my emotion on the court so I'm happy I kind of did it this time as well".

"I think it wasn't really about the game". So I'm glad it's still there, still in the mind, still in the hand. "There are a few things to improve but what can I expect after such a long time". And the expectations are also from me really big because I know what I can do, what I did previous year.

The hand is still not flawless but crucially for the 15th seed she remains pain free. "Mentally, she is back". "Of course going as a victor from the centre court was much better than stepping on the court".

"Thank you for everything, you helped me through this hard time", added Kvitova, who will face either Bethanie Mattek-Sands or Evgeniya Rodina in the second round.

Kerber showed some signs of getting into the match, smacking a cross-court forehand passing victor, leaning forward and yelling as she got within 3-1.

"I promised my doctor, who gave me the green light, that if I feel pain in my hand during the match or in the practice, I'm stopping immediately". "I didn't know how I will be ready", she added.

Considering that the WTA number one, Kerber, went out in the first round the same day, Serena Williams is out on pregnancy leave, Sharapova wasn't even invited to the FO tournament and is still trying to justify her wild card gifts, and Victoria Azarenka won't be coming back until the grass season, having Kvitova back on the tour is a welcome distraction from a gutted field of women champions.

Kvitova moves into the second round to face the victor of the match between Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Evgeniya Rodina.

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