Making the most of a last-minute schedule change, Andrea Petkovic enthralled the crowd at Rod Laver Arena with a straight-sets upset win over fifth seed Liudmila Samsonova in the 2022 Melbourne Summer Set 1.
Petkovic produced a fine display on serve to notch up a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory after one hour and 33 minutes. The German fired 11 aces and won an impressive 81% of first-serve points to deny Samsonova any inroads into the contest.
Following her on-court triumph, Petkovic won over the evening-session crowd with her charismatic personality. Addressing the stadium, the 34-year-old jokingly said she tried her best to entertain the fans who had come to watch home-favorite Nick Kyrgios play. The Australian has withdrawn from the Melbourne Summer Set tournament because of asthma.
"I'm feeling very, very good. I didn't expect to play on Rod Laver arena, in the night session, so that was a nice surprise," Petkovic said. "I really happy to be here to see. So many faces out here. I know all of you expected Nick Kyrgios. But I tried my best, with my serving," Petkovic said.
Shifting her focus to the match, Petkovic said she had come into the contest prepared to defend well, knowing that her opponent likes to play aggressively. She was also delighted to have been able to register an upset win.
"I saw her play last year and she won in Berlin in my home country in Germany," Pertkovic said. "I knew how well she serves and how hard she hits the ball, so I was just trying to stay low and stay with her, which wasn't very easy and I'm really happy that it went my way today."
"The mind of a 34-year-old and the body of a 20-year-old, that would be the perfect tennis player" - Andrea Petkovic
On being questioned about the level of experience that she brought to the court, she joked that "old horses" can also deliver big wins.
The German said that, according to her, the mindset of a 34-year-old and the physical fitness of a 20-year-old is what makes the "perfect tennis player".
"Old horses can still do something," Petkovic said. "And well you know, the the thing is I always say that it would be great if you could have the mind of a 34 year old and the body of a 20 year old, that would be the perfect tennis player because I am much more chill. I'm less emotional."
Petkovic also reflected on her long and illustrious career during the on-court interview. She said she has learned to control all the emotions that players go through when they are young. Petkovic joked that at the age of 34, a face mask and some sleep is all she needs to be ready for the next day.
"All of these emotions are great when you're young, but you have to learn to control them and just through so many losses and wins that I had in my career," she continued. "I learned so much so yeah, you know just the face mask every night before I sleep and I'm good to go the next day again"
Petkovic will next take on the winner of the first-round encounter between Clara Burel and Zhang Shuai on Thursday.