Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

World Cup humiliation for host nation

Read more

DEBATE

Israel and the Palestinians: How to Break the Cycle of Violence?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Somalia : Al Shebab attack on presidential palace

Read more

FOCUS

Sharia law to be enshrined in British legal system?

Read more

ENCORE!

How a comedy dud became one of France's biggest box office hits

Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Alps Murder wife had ex-husband who died on same day

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Brazil players should never wear 'sacred uniform' again, press says

    Read more

  • Exiled Syrian opposition elects new president

    Read more

  • Ukraine imposes new conditions on peace talks with pro-Russia rebels

    Read more

  • Sarkozy's UMP party 'almost €80 million in debt'

    Read more

Ivanovic digs deep, Safin and Murray ease through

©

Latest update : 2009-05-25

Defending champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia struggled to beat Italy's Sara Errani on the first day of the French Open. Over in the men's draw, Marat Safin and Andy Murray rolled over their opponents to ease into the second round.

AFP - Defending champion Ana Ivanovic survived a 30-degree sweatshop to reach the French Open second round on Sunday as the sun shone kindly on Grand Slam old-stagers Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin.

Ivanovic clinched a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 win over Italy's world number 44 Sara Errani with the eighth-seeded Serbian showing few signs of the knee injury which kept her out of the Madrid Open.

"I knew I had to work hard for every point, but I kept my composure even when I was making mistakes," said Ivanovic.

"My knee wasn't a problem. I feel fine. I had some good practice sessions after taking the Madrid tournament off. It only takes a few days to get back into shape."

The 21-year-old will play either Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn or Camille Pin of France for a place in the third round.

British number three seed Andy Murray eased into the next round with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win over Argentina's Juan Igancio Chela and a match-up against either Germany's Mischa Zverev or Potito Starace of Italy.

Murray, one of the few men capable of pouncing should four-time champion Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer slip-up, needed just an hour and 45 minutes to see off Chela, a former quarter-finalist whose ranking has slumped to 205.

"It was a very good win. Chela's a tough player. I needed to play well and I did," said the Scotsman who unleashed 55 winners.

"I lost my first service game but after that I was happy with the way I played."

Hewitt and Safin, both former world number ones and with two Grand Slam titles each, enjoyed contrasting victories.

Hewitt survived a world record 55-ace barrage from giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic to claim a 6-7 (1/7), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-3 win which consumed almost four hours.

It was the fifth time in his career that the 28-year-old Australian, twice a quarter-finalist in Paris, had come back from a two-set deficit.

Karlovic's ace-count was a world record, beating the previous best of 51 he shared with Sweden's Joachim Johansson set at Wimbledon in 2005; both men still lost.

Hewitt, now ranked 50 and who underwent hip surgery in August last year, will face Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan for a place in the third round where four-time champion Rafael Nadal is a likely opponent.

"To play Karlovic on any surface is hard especially when his ace-count is up in the 50s," said Hewitt, of a man who famously defeated him in the first round at Wimbledon in 2003 when the Australian was defending champion.

"After losing the tiebreakers it's more of a mental battle. You have to hang in there and go the distance."

Karlovic's career record in five-set matches remains at 0-11.

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.

"I still have months to go. I have plenty of tennis yet to play," said the 29-year-old Safin.

There there was to be no fairytale return for 2004 champion Gaston Gaudio who took last year off to escape the grind of the tour.

The Argentine wildcard, the last winner before Nadal took charge, lost 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 to Czech 18th seed Radek Stepanek.

China's Li Na, the women's 25th seed, had the honour of becoming the first player to reach the second round thanks to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Poland's Marta Domachowska.

The 26-year-old Li now meets Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky.

Li was quickly joined in the second round by promising Russian 17-year-old Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 27th seed, who eased past Romania's Ioana Raluca Olaru 6-3, 6-2.

Eighteen-year-old Russian qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko, the world 151, reduced Mathilde Johansson, one of a record 19 Frenchwomen in the draw, to a tearful wreck after a three-hour 2-6, 6-2, 10-8 win.

Johansson wasted eight match points, four of which were squandered on double faults.

Diatchenko, making her Grand Slam debut, will face either world number one Dinara Safina or Britain's Anne Keothavong for a place in the third round.

Also making progress in the women's draw were Belarussian ninth seed Victoria Azarenka and Russian 11th seed Nadia Petrova, who would face Maria Sharapova if the former world number one gets past the first round on Monday.

Date created : 2009-05-24

Comments

COMMENT(S)