Venus in Trouble, Sharapova Struggles Through at French Open
Maria Sharapova, addled by a bad shoulder and playing in only her second tournament of the year, put in an impressive effort on Wednesday at the French Open in toppling fellow Russian and No. 11 seed Nadia Petrova 6-2, 1-6, 8-6.
“She really showed, even though she has been out for a while, that she’s willing to compete until the end,” Petrova said of Sharapova. “I’m disappointed I didn’t finish it off when I had everything in my hands. That’s what I need to do to become a better player and win titles, go for my shots without doubts.”
Sharapova played her first match of the year last week at Warsaw, making an early exit, but in Paris has made up for her lack of physical prowess with pure grit — and her trademark glass-breaking scream-grunts.
“These types of matches are really important for me,” Sharapova said. “I’m spending more time out there than I want to, but I’m learning so many new things as well. When you haven’t played for such a long time and you’re put in these situations, many things come back to you.”
No. 15 seed Zheng Jie was another casualty, going down to 16-year-old qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito.
Also winning second-round matches were No. 1 seed Dinara Safina, No. 8 Ana Ivanovic, No. 9 Victoria Azarenka, No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova, No. 22 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 25 Li Na, No. 27 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, No. 29 Agnes Szavay and No. 32 Iveta Benesova. No. 21 Alize Cornet completed a rain delayed first-round match.
Ivanovic, the defending champ, was an easy winner over Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1, 6-2.
“It wasn’t an easy match. We had lots of close games,” Ivanovic said. “The conditions were much slower than my first match and it took some time for me to adjust, but I was in the moment and trying to play each point. I just want to make my way through some rounds and get more and more comfortable each match. I’m very happy about my game and my mental state right now.”
No. 3 seed Venus Williams lost the first set 7-6(5) against Czech Lucie Safarova before play was called due to darkness.
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