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Petkovic Gets Through, Azarenka & Li Too

Andrea Petkovic won her seventh straight match and moonwalked her way into the third round.

Published May 26, 2011 12:00

Petkovic Gets Through, Azarenka & Li Too
Andrea Petkovic

PARIS, France - With the exception of multiple Grand Slam champions and former No.1s Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova the French Open seemed to go to form on Thursday, with No.4 seed Victoria Azarenka quietly leading the rest of the big names into the third round of the clay court major.

Azarenka, the No.4 seed, put together the most dominant victory of the day, easing past French wildcard Pauline Parmentier in a mere 57 minutes, 60 61. Azarenka hit 13 winners to just eight errors out on Court Suzanne Lenglen and has now won 23 of her last 27 matches, three of those losses via retirement.

Parmentier, 25, had beaten the 21-year-old Azarenka before, all of four years ago in the final of Tashkent in 2007. Parmentier actually has two WTA titles to her name, winning a clay court event in Bad Gastein a year after.

Sixth-seeded Li Na battled past tenacious Spanish qualifier Sílvia Soler-Espinosa earlier in the day, hitting 34 winners to 25 errors for a 64 75 victory.

"I had never seen saw my opponent before. I asked many players for information but it came back zero," Li said. "It was tough, because nobody knew what this player was like, and at the beginning I was surprised because she had the toughest forehand ever, the bounce was so heavy. She was dangerous.

"Also it was windy. But if you want to win the match, you can't think about the wind. Sometimes you have to be friends with the wind - maybe it can help you."

Other Top 16 seeds moving on were No.9 seed Petra Kvitova, No.12 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, No.15 seed Andrea Petkovic and No.16 seed Kaia Kanepi. Petkovic had a particularly tough task in big-hitting Czech Lucie Hradecka but she passed it comfortably in straight sets, 76(2) 62.

"She served incredible in the first set, but later she dropped her first serve percentage and I was able to exploit that in the right moments," Petkovic said. "I played a solid tie-break and the important points I played well. I'm satisfied."

Petkovic had retired her Petko Dance after her run to the semifinals of Miami in April, but it has made a comeback in France. "I said I wanted to stop dancing, and it's not a real dance anymore, but after I stopped I played the most horrible tennis of my life probably. So I figured I had to change something. In Strasbourg I brought the Moonwalk in because I think it fits for clay, and I won the title. And now I'm here in the third round. It's going well; I have to keep it up."

Yanina Wickmayer, Jarmila Gajdosova, Maria Kirilenko, Roberta Vinci, Ekaterina Makarova, Sorana Cirstea, Vania King and Chan Yung-Jan were also among those moving through to the third round in Day 5 action.

Clijsters, the No.2 seed, had a dramatic match against unheralded Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus (read more about that here), while No.7 seed Sharapova pulled off one of the biggest comebacks of the tournament against inspired French teenager Caroline Garcia (read more about that match here).

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