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Murray and Ivanovic, stars of French Open first day

Latest update : 2009-05-26

Serbian Ana Ivanovic, defending champion, is to play against Italian Sara Errani on the French Open first day. Meanwhile, world number 3, the Scot Andy Murray, will try to prove to Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela that he can perform well on clay court.

REUTERS - Ana Ivanovic will start her French Open title defence against Italian Sara Errani on Sunday inspired by American rock band Kings of Leon.


The eighth-seeded Serb will open on Centre Court on an action-packed first day with British third seed Andy Murray, former world number one Marat Safin and Spaniard Fernando Verdasco also on the programme.

Last year, Ivanovic listened to Pink's "Cuz I can" and she said she was tempted to do so again on Sunday.


"I thought of Pink again this year, but it will definitely be Kings of Leon," Ivanovic told reporters on Saturday.


"I like to come to a tournament with a specific playlist that I can listen to before going on the court. I like five or 10 minutes just for myself."

The 21-year-old, returning after a knee injury, has won only two matches on clay this season.


Errani, the world number 44, has won three encounters on the red dust although no top player is among her conquests.

Murray, who has dramatically improved on the slow surface this season, meets Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela on the Suzanne Lenglen court.


Murray reached the semi-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters last month and the quarter-finals at the Madrid Masters last week.

Former number ones

"I know I have to play well if I want to go deep into the tournament. (On grass and hard courts) I can come through matches when I'm not necessarily playing my best, whereas on clay I feel like I have to play tough tennis from the start and play some of my best to win all the matches," the Briton told a news conference on Friday.

Safin, seeded 20th, will take on world number 146 Alexandre Sidorenko of France when he starts his last French Open before retiring at the end of the year.


Australian Lleyton Hewitt faces big-serving Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, seeded 26th.

The French crowd will be pleased to see world number seven Gilles Simon against American Wayne Odesnik and former world number one Amelie Mauresmo in a tricky first round match against Germany's Anna-Lena Groenefeld.


World number one Rafael Nadal of Spain is expected to start his bid for a fifth consecutive title against Brazilian qualifier Marcos Daniel while Swiss second seed Roger Federer should play on Tuesday against Spaniard Alberto Martin.


Dinara Safina, the world number one, will play Britain's Anne Keothavong on Monday.

Date created : 2009-05-24