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Thursday, May 26, 2011

French Open: Days 3 and 4 Catchup

The last day of first round matches gave us a sneak peak into what players like Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters were bringing to Roland Garros. Both players easily toppled their opponents and moved into the second round. For other stars, like former French Open champion, Ana Ivanovic, the day didn't end so happily. The 20th-seed Serbian rebounded from a first set tiebreaker loss to claim the second set at 6-0. It appeared as though she would ride that wave of momentum into the third set, but unfortunately for her, that wave broke a little too early. Ivanovic struggled to maintain her high level of play and as fatigue set in, so did the tears. Ana wound up losing the final set 6-2.

Out on court 1 all eyes were on another Serbian: young Bojana Jovanovski. She faced 15-seed Petkovic in what I predicted to be a first round match worth watching... and I was right. Both players are very young and swing at balls as though there are no limits. Petkovic won the first set 6-4, but Bojana held strong in the second, taking the match into a tiebreak after failing to convert a set point. The fiery Serb seemed likely to earn another set point, but Petkovic proved her ranking and kept the set alive. After a few convincing strikes, Petkovic found match point, winning the tiebreak 7-3.

Another exciting first round win came for America's Vania King. She stepped onto court against the ever-unpredictable Dominika Cibulkova, a player many thought might meet (and upset) the heavy handed Petra Kvitova. That won't be the case, however, as King found a steady rhythm on the clay. She dropped the first set to Cibulkova in a tight 12-10 tiebreak, but upped her level in the next two sets to win 6-3 6-2.

Day 4 saw the first group of second round matches, and a handful of seeded players continued their victorious stride. Schiavone, Jankovic, Stosur and Wozniacki all won in straight sets, though the Dane had to fend off a set point to win a second set tiebreaker 8-6.

Though there were no bracket-busting upsets, no. 3 seed Vera Zvonareva narrowly escaped defeat. She had the unfortunate draw of facing Sabine Lisicki, a former top-notch player who had to qualify for this year's Roland Garros after taking time off for injuries. Lisicki won the first set 6-4 and had match point in the third, but Vera still managed to scrounge up a victory. Perhaps the missed return by Lisicki on match point (mind you it was a second serve...) was a little telling in that the German is not ready to reclaim her spot in the top ten, but there is no way to deny credit for Zvonareva's unyielding efforts. She won the final two sets 7-5 7-5 through gritted teeth and for that, she deserves a round of appluase, but by the end of the match, Lisicki's cramping was so severe that she had to be taken off the court on a stretcher. It seems Vera dodged a very, very deadly bullet.

Click HERE for Day 3 results.
Click HERE for Day 4 results.

-Kedzie Teller, ITB Senior Editor


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