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French Open Day Three Images

May 27, 2009 11:34 IST

Dementieva shakes off bad start

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Reuters

Fourth seed Elena Dementieva overcame a nervy start Tuesday to beat South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers 6-4, 6-3 and book her place in the French Open second round.

Making her Roland Garros debut, the 25-year-old Scheepers broke twice to surge to a 3-0 lead before the Russian world number four reeled off five games in a row.

The Olympic champion squandered two set points at 5-3, fluffing an easy shot at the net and sending a groundstroke long, before securing the set two games later with a powerful backhand that her opponent could only hit long.

The Russian, runner-up in Paris in 2004 and ranked 145 places above Scheepers, broke twice for a 5-2 lead in the second and served out the match, wrapping it up in 83 minutes with a backhand down the line.


Image: Elena Dementieva
Photographs: Reuters
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Dokic thanks Australians for rekindling her passion

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Reuters

Jelena Dokic, playing at the French Open for the first time since 2004, thanked her adopted country Australia on Tuesday for rekindling her passion for tennis.

Dokic, who was born in former Yugoslavia, marked her return to Roland Garros by downing Croat Karolina Sprem 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

After booking a second-round date with Russian fourth seed Elena Dementieva, she said could not have made it back on to the big stage if it had not been for the support she got during her emotional journey to January's Australian Open quarter-finals.

"Those people in Australia have probably brought my career back on track. I will be grateful to them for the rest of my life," the former world number four, now ranked 80th, told a news conference.

"No matter how hard it is on tour sometimes, every week when you play, I always try to remember that, because that's what brought me back."

Since her unexpected run in Melbourne, her form has dipped and she has not managed to win back-to-back matches on the main tour. However, since she has had to overcome greater obstacles, including breaking links with her domineering father Damir, she was not about to get too disheartened.

"Coming into the grand slam, I was a little bit shaky, but it's a very good sign that I was able to turn around and still be able to play a fairly good match today," she said.

"I'm number 80 in the world, so I have nothing to defend for the rest of the year. I have pretty high goals.


Image: Jelena Dokic
Photographs: Reuters
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Jankovic dodges rain showers

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Reuters

Fifth seed Jelena Jankovic, dodged rain showers to book her place in round two.

Twenty four hours after the scorching conditions in Paris had left many players hot and bothered, temperatures had dipped by more than 15 degrees Celsius after overnight thunderstorms.

Instead of using her red and white towel to wipe sweat off her face, Jankovic used it as a blanket around her shoulders in the changeovers and seemed relieved to go back to the warmth of the locker room with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Czech Petra Cetkovska.

The Serbian fifth seed, who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year, will next face Magdalena Rybarikova after the Slovakian saw off Kristina Mladenovic of France.

After enduring a two-hour rain break at 4-1, the Serb clinched the opening set on her opponent's serve.

World number 85 Cetkovska stepped up a gear in the second set but eventually failed to handle Jankovic's pace in the long rallies and bowed out on the second match point when she sent a crosscourt forehand wide.

Jankovic, who won the Andalucia Tennis Championships last month, felt she was not helped by the conditions.

"I was controlling the points, finishing lot of points at the net," the 24-year-old Serb told reporters.

"But then we had to stop because of the rain and it's not easy to come back. I managed to finish it off in straight sets so I'm happy.

"The conditions were quite heavy because of the rain. The balls are much heavier on the court as well," she added.

The former world number one said there was still a long way to go before she can think about contesting a final in Paris.

"I'm trying to improve my game, trying to get in my top form, and make these little baby steps forward," she said.


Image: Jelena Jankovic
Photographs: Reuters
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Djokovic would have liked more of a workout

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Reuters

Fourth seed Novak Djokovic could have done with giving his blue "Novak"-emblazoned shoes more of a runaround on Tuesday after opponent Nicolas Lapentti retired injured and handed him a place in the French Open second round.

Ecuador's Lapentti went over on his already heavily strapped left ankle in the eighth game of the first set and called the trainer on.

He continued for another half an hour, wincing occasionally between points, before quitting while trailing 6-3, 3-1.

"I would probably love to hit ... more points and to stay a little bit more time on the court," the 22-year-old world number four told a news conference.

"But on the other side we didn't get a lot of rallies today because of the conditions. I think everybody could see the power the wind was creating, and you couldn't really judge which side the wind is going to blow."

Djokovic, who has reached the Roland Garros semi-finals for the last two years, had taken early control of the match with a break in the fourth game and dished up some sizzling crosscourt backhands to stay in front.

His occasional misjudged lobs and drop shots went unpunished by 32-year-old Lapentti, whose best grand slam appearance was reaching the Australian Open semi-finals 10 years ago.

With black clouds hovering over the court ominously at the start of the second set and his opponent treading increasingly gingerly, Djokovic took an early break that left Lapentti with an uphill task if he had decided to continue.

"I talked to him, and he says there is no use in playing if you can't move," said Djokovic, who himself retired in the quarter-finals of this year's Australian Open.


Image: Novak Djokovic
Photographs: Reuters
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Sania out of French Open singles

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PTI

Sania Mirza crashed out of French Open women's singles event after losing in straight sets to Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva.

Sania went down 4-6, 6-7 (3) in a contest lasting a little over an hour and a half.

Sania, who has never gone beyond the second round at Roland Garros, had little match practice going into the clay court event.

The Indian's rustiness was quite evident in the six double faults she committed in the very first set.

Sania's failure to convert any of the four break points that she earned only added to her problems.

Voskoboeva converted a crucial break in the seventh game to clinch the first set in 46 minutes.

Sania put up a slightly better show in the second set and cut down on her double faults but 14 unforced errors pulled her back.

After losing her serve twice, Sania broke back to take the set into a tie-breaker. But Voskoboeva, who had lost to Sania in their only past encounter, dominated the proceedings thereafter and clinched the tie-breaker 7-3.


Image: Sania Mirza
Photographs: Reuters
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