Serena Edges Zakopalova as First Round Wraps Up
Published May 26, 2009 04:18
PARIS, France - Top 10 players went 5-0 on Day 3 of the French Open on Tuesday, as the first round of the year's second major wrapped up. But for a few of them it was anything but easy, with Serena Williams among those going the distance.
In one of the last matches of the day, Williams, who had lost four matches in a row coming in, took on Klara Zakopalova who was actually responsible for one of those losses - in the first round of Marbella in April. Williams, the No.2 seed, seemed on the way to straight set revenge as she built a 63 53 lead, but after squandering five match points in that game she lost her way, and Zakopalova got the second set in a tie-break.
Williams built another big lead in the third set, 5-2, and held three more match points there. Zakopalova saved them all again and closed Williams' lead to 5-4, but was broken in the last game, giving Williams a 63 67(5) 64 win, despite 35 errors and dodgy clay court movement in the two-hour, 25-minute match.
"I'm disappointed. I played a very good match. And the public was absolutely fantastic. I've never played in front of a crowd like this. It was one of the best experiences in my life," Zakopalova said. "I think Serena will play better each round, so it was probably the best chance to beat her. She's Serena. She is one of the best players here, so it was a bit of bad luck for me with the draw."
No.4 seed Elena Dementieva beat qualifier Chanelle Scheepers, 64 63; No.5 seed Jelena Jankovic dispatched Petra Cetkovska, 62 63; and No.7 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova downed wildcard Claire Feuerstein, 61 64. But No.10 seed Caroline Wozniacki had a tough one, splitting sets with Vera Dushevina on Monday, 46 75, before the match was stopped due to darkness; she completed a 46 75 61 win.
"I slept pretty well. With just one set to play today, I did a very good warm-up just before so I wouldn't feel tight," said Wozniacki, who had been down 64 31 on Monday before evening it up. "The first round is always difficult. You just want to get past it. I'm just happy to pull it through and reach the second round."
Other seeded winners were No.18 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues, No.24 seed Aleksandra Wozniak, No.28 seed Sybille Bammer and No.30 seed Samantha Stosur. No.31 seed Peng Shuai was the only upset victim of the day, as María José Martínez Sánchez beat the Chinese No.3, 16 62 64. No.21 seed Alizé Cornet was leading Maret Ani, 64 44, when darkness stopped play for the day.
Dokic rallies to beat Sprem, sets up Dementieva clash
Among the winners in matches between unseeded players was Jelena Dokic, who beat another player working her way back into the higher ranks of the game, Karolina Sprem, 36 61 62. Dokic hadn't played the French Open since 2004, when she fell first round, but she has made it deep here before, reaching the quarters in 2002 before falling to Jennifer Capriati. She was very pleased with her win.
"It's only my second Grand Slam in the last four years and the second time I've gotten past the first round, so I have to be happy with that," said Dokic, who made a scintillating run to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January. "Karolina has played pretty well this year. I knew it was not going to be an easy match. I haven't had that many matches in the last few months and I didn't play so well the last few weeks. But I was really strong mentally today."
Dokic will next face Dementieva, against whom she actually leads the series, 5-3, including five wins in a row between 2001 and 2003. They haven't played in over five years though, Dementieva winning their last meeting at Miami in 2004.