Bratchikova Makes It, Kvitova & Li Cruise

Nina Bratchikova lifted her game at a Slam again. Petra Kvitova and Li Na were in crushing form.

Published May 31, 2012 12:00

Bratchikova Makes It, Kvitova & Li Cruise
Nina Bratchikova

PARIS, France - Li Na continued to crush the competition in her French Open title defense Thursday, needing just 52 minutes to get past Stéphanie Foretz Gacon, 60 62, and move into the third round of the clay court Grand Slam.

The No.7-seeded Li won the first nine games against Foretz Gacon and ended with almost three times as many winners as the French veteran, 14 to five.

"The start of the match was tighter, but then she became sort of mechanical, like a windshield wiper," Foretz Gacon said. "She started hitting hard and deep and got better and better. It wasn't easy because the games started piling on and I wanted to stay on the court longer. But I'm still happy about my week."

Afterwards Li was asked if she was feeling another title coming on the horizon. "I mean, why not?" she replied. "I did well here last year and am happy to be here again this year. I don't really think too much about being the defending champion or how far I can go - I'm just enjoying playing every day, every round."

Other top players in early action cruised too, with No.4 seed Petra Kvitova beating Urszula Radwanska, 61 63; No.9 seed Caroline Wozniacki hitting seven errors to beat Jarmila Gajdosova, 61 64; and No.10 seed Angelique Kerber completing her rain delayed match with Olga Govortsova, 63 62.

Kvitova commented on the similarities and differences between Radwanska sisters Agnieszka and Urszula. "Both of them are playing really similar, but I think that Aga puts more balls in the court and has more touch, better hands," the No.4-ranked Czech said. "Maybe she has a little bit better serve too."

It was recently announced Wozniacki will be coached by Thomas Johansson, a now-retired ATP World Tour player - and a Grand Slam champion. Wozniacki was asked about the new arrangement in her post-match press conference.

"Yeah, I worked with him a couple weeks before. First of all, he's a great guy. We have a good connection. And he lives just underneath me, which makes everything easy when you're going for practices and everything. He's played on the tour before, he's won a Grand Slam - won the Australian Open. He has experience and he knows the players, because he's been commentating.

"Also he's not soft - I don't like when someone tells me it's great when it's actually terrible. Well, not terrible - it can't be terrible - but it's not good, or I don't feel it's good. I want someone who is strict and tells me how it is."

Other early winners were Klara Zakopalova, who won a grinder with No.16 seed Maria Kirilenko, 64 36 63; No.22 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won the last five games - and 20 of the last 21 points - to pull off a 46 63 63 comeback win over Melinda Czink; No.23 seed Kaia Kanepi, who downed Irina-Camelia Begu, 64 61; and Nina Bratchikova, who came back from 4-0 down in the third set to beat French wildcard Claire Feuerstein, 36 63 75.

The 26-year-old Bratchikova is into the third round of a Grand Slam for the second time, having done it at the Australian Open this year too - in fact, the two runs are the only two times she has ever won back-to-back matches.

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