“I had stomach problems at the start of the year,” said a crying Ivanovic in her post-match conference, going over her various illnesses and ailments in 2011. “But I felt healthy before Indian Wells, then hurt my stomach again at the Fed Cup. It’s been stop and go, it is very frustrating. It’s inflammation of the wrist but I didn’t suffer it playing, I woke up with the problem. The bone has slipped and has caused friction. I’m very upset.”
Larsson to her credit persevered after being fed a bagel in the second set by the former French Open champion.
“I just tried to forget about it quickly and move on and keep thinking positive,” Larsson said. “I was really thinking about how nice it is to play in this big court and with all this crowd, and I was trying to get some help from them. It worked in the end.”
American Vania King provided the other seeded upset on the day, ousting No. 22 Dominika Cibulkova 6-7(10), 6-3, 6-2.
No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters, seeking her third straight Slam title after the 2010 US Open and this year’s Australian Open, looked rusty after time off due to a foot injury, playing her first match since March and dispatching of Anastasiya Yakimova 6-2, 6-3.
Seeking her first Roland Garros title, Clijsters says even though she has no match experience on the clay this year, she has been training with the clay in mind. The Belgian tore ligaments in her ankle while dancing at her cousin’s wedding, putting her on the sidelines for roughly two months.
“Even after Australia, like all my workouts that I was doing with my trainer were all kind of with the clay season in mind, and we were doing longer intervals, knowing that the rallies would be a little bit longer,” Clijsters said. “Everything was kind of set already on this event a few months ago. So it was disappointing when it happened, but it kind of just gave me an extra spark.”
No. 7 seed Maria Sharapova has been receiving some “favorite” status since winning a claycourt title in the run-up to Roland Garros, even though clay remains her weakest surface, testing the gangly Russian’s movement.
“I’ve put a lot of work in, and starting from the off-season, I had a tough period at the beginning of the year, being sick for a while and having to wait to play a tournament,” Sharapova said of her 2011 campaign. “But I trained really hard. I don’t think I had that work ethic last year. At some points I didn’t push myself as much as I wanted to, but that motivation has really kicked in this year, and I hope I keep going with that.”
Other Top 10 winners on Tuesday were No. 4 Victoria Azarenka easing past Czech Andrea Hlavackova 6-3, 6-3, and No. 6 Li Na struggling past Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3.
Seeded winners also included No. 15 Andrea Petkovic, No. 21 Yanina Wickmayer, No. 24 Jarmila Gajdosova, and No. 27 Alexandra Dulgheru, all straight-set winners.
French wildcards gave the home crowd something to cheer for as Pauline Parmentier topped Russian Ksenia Pervak, and Caroline Garcia defeated Czech Zuzana Ondraskova, both in straights.
Matches to look for on Wednesday include the Battle of Woz with (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, (3) Vera Zvonareva vs. German veteran Sabine Lisicki, (17) Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges vs. Lucie Safarova, an all-American tussle in Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Varvara Lepchenko, and (10) Jelena Jankovic vs. Russian Vera Dushevina.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
In his 40th career match at the French Open, Rafael Nadal played his first 5-setter today. In best-of-5, Nadal is now 3-0 career on clay and 15-3 on all surfaces…Kim Clijsters won her first French Open match in five years on Tuesday…Who is Maxime Teixeira? He won his first ATP match in the first round on Monday. Next is Roger Federer…Juan Martin Del Potro and Novak Djokovic are both undefeated this year on clay. They will meet Saturday if they win their next matches…Is Nicolas Almagro really that good on clay?….Ana Ivanovic has lost in the first round at three of her last four majors…21-year-old Guillaume Rufin is the youngest man left in the draw…6’8″ Kevin Anderson is the tallest guy left in the draw…Ivan Ljubicic once reached the French Open semifinals. No, he really did….If you don’t like Ryan Harrison right now, wait about three years when he’s Top 10 and you really hate him…Roger Federer has reached 27 consecutive Slam quarterfinals…Francesca Schiavone has won 8 straight matches at Roland Garros…No men’s defending champion has ever lost in the first round at the French Open…Mirjana Lucic was a Wimbledon semifinalist over 10 years ago…Anna Kournikova according to media sources will be a judge on the next season of the U.S. TV show “The Biggest Loser” as the fitness trainer for contestants…Kim Clijsters says she’s not a big fan of the clay grind: “I just prefer the impact that your strokes have on a hardcourt. I know that if I hit a shot, forehand inside out on a hardcourt, eight out of 10 it won’t come back. On clay, five out of 10 or eight out of 10 it will come back, and then I have the next shot.”…SI columnist Jon Wertheim seeks to sooth the Djoko-nuts with the headline “Picking Nadal to win the French is not a Djokovic slight.”
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