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40 LOVE Moments: The First Sunday Start

Roland Garros made history in 2006 with the first Sunday start at a Grand Slam. The day was no short on drama, with Maria Sharapova saving match points to win - who almost beat her?

Published May 26, 2013 12:00

40 LOVE Moments: The First Sunday Start
Maria Sharapova

PARIS, France - It was seven years ago when the French Open made history with its Sunday start - the first ever Sunday start at a Grand Slam. And just like this year, it had a star-studded line-up.

The most talked about match of the day was Maria Sharapova's win over Mashona Washington, mainly because it almost ended up as a loss - seeded No.4, Sharapova had to fight back from 5-2 down in the third set, as well as save three match points a few games later down 5-4, to make it through.

Sharapova had an injury cloud hovering over her coming into the tournament, leaving her a little bit vulnerable to an upset - she was downplaying expectations in her pre-tournament press in Paris.

"I do not think I will be able to perform as well as I would like," the Russian said. "I haven't played a tournament before coming here and haven't trained very much. I'm hoping for a few miracles."

At the end of the day - or the match, more like - Sharapova did end up getting that wish.

Amélie Mauresmo, the World No.1 at the time and thus the top seed at her home Grand Slam, was also among the winners that day, edging Meghann Shaughnessy in a competitive straight-setter, 64 64.

In a very tough first round draw, Dinara Safina beat Vera Zvonareva, 63 75, twice battling back from a break down in the second set. Safina was the No.14 seed and Zvonareva unseeded - little could they have expected that a few years later they would peak at No.1 and No.2 in the world, respectively.

"I'm starting to be a little more calm this year, and I know what I'm doing on the court a little more too," Safina said afterwards. "I'm trying to play focused, from the first point to when I shake hands."

Ai Sugiyama and Marion Bartoli, seeded No.22 and No.25, were also among the winners that day.

Mashona Washington

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