Martínez Sánchez Beats Peer, Marino Up Next
Published May 22, 2011 12:00
PARIS, France - In the Top 20 a year ago but No.86 now, it hasn't been the best 12 months for María José Martínez Sánchez. But the confidence certainly looked like it was back Sunday as the 28-year-old Spaniard pulled off the first surprise of the week, beating No.19 seed Shahar Peer, 76(4) 61.
Last May, Martínez Sánchez captured her third and biggest WTA title at the Premier-level title in Rome, bouncing Serbia's Top 2 - Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic - back-to-back in the semifinals and final. She subsequently cracked the Top 20 but missed two months from June to August with a right knee injury.
Martínez Sánchez never really found her form again and a few weeks ago, after falling first round the week she was defending those points from Rome, she tumbled from No.33 to No.84 on the rankings. But that seemed out of her mind as she stunned Peer, edging her in a 72-minute first set before cruising in the second set, finishing it with a perfect half volley drop shot off a Peer lob.
"I felt I served really well, and that always helps me play pretty confidently. I don't think there was anything special I did today," Marino said. "It's probably my first win at Roland Garros apart from the juniors, so I'm really pleased."
Marino's fellow Canadian star, Milos Raonic, was practicing on the next court with ATP World Tour No.1 Rafael Nadal. She was asked about it in press. "That's cool," she said. "It explains why everyone was looking over the fence."
This is the third Grand Slam main draw of Marino's career, and the third time she has made the second round. She now has a chance to reach the third round for the first time. "Martínez Sánchez is a clay court player, which is always difficult. But I'm lucky, my dad's a lefty, so I grew up with that."