Venus Williams, Jankovic advance in Paris
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
PARIS ” Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic reached the third round at the French Open on Thursday, one easing through her match and the other playing through pain.
The eighth-seeded Williams used a six-game run to beat 241st-ranked qualifier Selima Sfar of Tunisia 6-2, 6-4. Jankovic, seeded third and a semifinalist at Roland Garros last year, was bothered by a right arm injury but defeated Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 6-2, 7-6 (5).
Amelie Mauresmo, a two-time Grand Slam champion seeded 22nd, lost to Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 6-4. The Frenchwoman finished with 38 unforced errors and was broken five times.
“Frankly, I don’t know what to say right now, because there was nothing much on my side, apart from a few games in which I was slightly more aggressive and not letting her play that game that much,” said Mauresmo, who missed both the Italian and German Opens because of a rib injury. “It’s a bit difficult for me to analyze all this. And all I can say is that I feel sorry about the way I played.”
On the men’s side, James Blake lost to 19-year-old Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“I wasn’t going for the shots the way I normally do,” Blake said.
Sixth-seeded David Nalbandian also lost, falling to Jeremy Chadry of France 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-2. No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny and No. 30 Dmitry Tursunov advanced to the third round.
Top-seeded Roger Federer and three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal were playing their second round matches when rain interrupted play on Day 5.
Jankovic called for a trainer after holding to lead 3-2 in the second set.
“It started gradually, little by little,” the 23-year-old Serb told the trainer after grimacing through a massage. “It’s humid, and the balls are big and heavy. We’re not used to it.”
Jankovic refused to get a bandage on her arm.
“I don’t want tape because I cannot play with tape. Just massage it,” Jankovic said. “I prefer to play with the pain.”
Jankovic broke in the next game to take a 4-2 lead, but Erakovic broke back to 4-3 and held to 4-4. At 5-all, the pair again traded breaks, and the New Zealander led 5-3 in the tiebreaker but Jankovic won the final four points to advance.
“I couldn’t really perform at my best, but I’m glad to get through,” said Jankovic, who will face No. 28 Dominika Cibulkova in the third round.
Williams trailed 2-1 after being broken early in the first set, but she didn’t drop another game until leading 1-0 in the second set. The American made 16 more unforced errors than Sfar, but made up for that with strong play at the net. Williams won the point on 24 of her 35 trips forward.
“It’s really nothing planned. I just really feel comfortable at the net, and I don’t know why. I just do. I like it up there, so I do try to get there when I can,” said Williams, who lost the 2002 French Open final to her younger sister Serena. “It’s just finally kicked in. I should always have been there, years ago.”
Williams will next play No. 26 Flavia Pennetta, who eliminated 16-year-old qualifier Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
“I played well and I just tried to improve literally on every point I’m playing out there, just to play better every point, play better every match,” Williams said. “Just naturally I feel like I get better every round, usually.”
No. 19 Alize Cornet and No. 27 Katarina Srebotnik also advanced, while No. 31 Ai Sugiyama lost.
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