Ingrid Neel through to round two in French Open doubles

Ingrid Neel.
Ingrid Neel. Source: Sara Falcão/FPT

While Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi may have both crashed out of the French Open singles in round one, Estonia has a new hope in Ingrid Neel, who made her debut at the Roland Garros in the doubles Wednesday, opening her account with a victory.

Neel, from the U.S. and a double specialist in any case, has joint Estonian citizenship, which qualified her to play tennis under the Estonian flag, which she started doing in March.

She and her doubles partner, Wu Fang-hsien (ROC), overcame Lena Friedsam (Germany) and Nadiia Kichenok (Ukraine) 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3 in round one of the tournament's double category.

While the pair lost a tie-break in set one, which had been very close and at one point was 5:5 in games, Neel and Wu came from behind to draw 4:4 in games in set two, then strung two more games together to take the set.

This momentum continued in the decider, as the Estonian-American/Taiwanese duo raced to 4:1 then 5:3, and won the third match point presented to them.

Neel and Wu next meet the winners of Sara Errani (Italy) / Bethanie Mattek-Sands (U.S.) and Leylah Fernandez (Canada) / Taylor Townsend (U.S.), due to take place Thursday.

Kaia Kanepi lost to world number 20 Madison Keys (U.S.) in the singles round one, while her controversial doubles pairing with Russian national Angelina Gabueva, playing under a neutral flag, unveiled before the tournament hit the headlines. In the event, Kanepi paired with Tereza Mihalíková of Slovakia, but the duo lost in straight sets, ironically to a Belarusian player, Victoria Azarenka, also under a neutral flag, who partnered Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil).

Kontaveit was defeated by another American player, Bernarda Pera (WTA No. 36), and is not entered in the doubles.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Krisjan Kallaste

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