NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sixth seed Petra Kvitova handily defeated Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-2 in first-round action at the U.S. Open on Monday but the Czech admitted it took some time getting used to playing in front of the empty stands at Flushing Meadows.
The twice Wimbledon champion converted four of five break point opportunities and fired 23 winners to defeat her Romanian opponent.
“I had to motivate myself from the beginning to the end,” the 30-year-old said in an on-court interview.
She also lamented the lack of crowd support at the event, which is being played without any fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed over 180,000 lives in the United States.
“It’s really mentally tough, to be honest,” she added.
Kvitova, who suffered a second-round exit last year at Flushing Meadows, will next face either Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine or American Whitney Osuigwe.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Pritha Sarkar)