Sunny side up
Defending champion Ana Ivanovic shrugged off recent injury worries to reach the French Open second round on Sunday with a gruelling 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 win over Italy's Sara Errani.sports Updated: May 24, 2009 23:29 IST
Defending champion Ana Ivanovic shrugged off recent injury worries to reach the French Open second round on Sunday with a gruelling 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 win over Italy's Sara Errani.
The 21-year-old, eighth-seeded Serbian will play either Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn or Camille Pin of France for a place in the third round. The bright and cheerful Ivanovic, who skipped last week's Madrid Open because of a knee injury, had the problem area taped when she walked onto Philippe Chatrier Court, but it didn't hinder her in the early exchanges as she edged to a 3-1 advantage.
The 44th-ranked Italian then stormed back to lead 5-4, but once she had squandered an opportunity to serve for the first set in the 10th game, her fight steadily melted away in the sweltering Paris sunshine.
Ivanovic eased through the tiebreak and then dominated the second set, stretching out to a 5-1 lead on the back of two breaks. She suffered a slight blip when Errani clawed one break back in the eighth game, but the champion eventually clinched victory with a swooping forehand in the ninth game after over two hours on court.
China's Li Na, the 25th seed, had the honour of becoming the first player to reach the second round on Sunday thanks to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Poland's Marta Domachowska.
The 26-year-old Li, who missed the 2008 event because of injury, needed just 72 minutes to make the last 64 where she will face either French wildcard Emilie Loit or Timea Bacsinszky. Li is one of three Chinese women in the main draw.
Hewitt survives ace attack from Karlovic
Australia's Lleyton Hewitt survived a world record 55-ace barrage from giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic to reach the French Open second round with a 6-7 (1/7), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-3 win on Sunday.
It was the fifth time in his career that the 28-year-old, former world number one had come back from a two-set deficit and he made the most of his 26th-seeded opponent gradually wilting.
Karlovic's ace-count was a world record, beating the previous best of 51 set by Joachim Johansson at Wimbledon in 2005, a match the Swedish player also lost.
Russian Marat Safin, a semi-finalist in 2002 and playing his 11th and last French Open before retiring, eased past French wildcard Alexandre Sidorenko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
After the match, Hewitt blasted the ITF as a 'disgrace' and condemned the controversy over Australia's refusal to play a Davis Cup tie in India as a 'circus'. “It's a circus,” he said. “The way the ITF went about it was a disgrace.”
First Published: May 24, 2009 23:27 IST