PARIS, France - After a shocking first few days, with Serena Williams and Li Na both among a slew of big names going out, the favorites held their ground at Roland Garros on Thursday, with Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Jelena Jankovic, Sara Errani and Ana Ivanovic all moving into the third round.
The No.6-seeded Jankovic was the first of the group to advance, reeling off nine games in a row from 4-5 in the opening set to make it past Japanese No.1 Kurumi Nara in straight sets, 7-5, 6-0.
"I think I'm getting a little bit better with each match," Jankovic commented. "My opponent is always tough to play against. We've been playing the last three Grand Slams against each other. So hopefully she can play someone else from now on! Hopefully in Wimbledon we don't play against each other.
"But as for me, so far, so good. Hopefully I can continue to get better with every match."
Kvitova and Errani followed in the afternoon, the No.5-seeded Kvitova rallying from 3-1 down in the second set to close Marina Erakovic out in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, and the No.10-seeded Errani coming back from a break down in both sets for a 6-2, 6-4 win over talented German Dinah Pfizenmaier.
The last wave of matches saw Halep and Ivanovic take the court, with the No.4-seeded Halep beating British qualifier Heather Watson, 6-2, 6-4, and the No.11-seeded Ivanovic winning five games in a row from 5-all in the first set to take control against Elina Svitolina, eventually winning, 7-5, 6-2.
With Li out now, any one of the aforementioned names - or even someone else - could come through the bottom half of the draw and eventually play for the title here. But nobody is looking too far.
"There are still a lot of great players in the draw and every match gets tougher," Jankovic said. "I have to focus on my game, on my tennis, and just focus one match at a time, and not really look too far at who lost and who's still in. It's all up to how well I play. That's basically my main focus right now."
Halep, the highest seed in the bottom half, echoed Jankovic's sentiment. "It's a little pressure, but I just want to stay focused for every match, because every match is very tough here," she said. "I have to do my best match by match. I cannot say I'm thinking about the finals now or something like this."
Other winners included No.15 seed Sloane Stephens, No.22 seed Ekaterina Makarova, No.23 seed Lucie Safarova, No.26 seed Sorana Cirstea, No.27 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and No.28 seed Andrea Petkovic. There were a few minor upsets, with Julia Glushko picking off No.21 seed Kirsten Flipkens, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, and Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens scoring a 5-7, 6-4, 3-0 retirement win over No.24 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova when the Russian had to stop because of a low back injury.