Sharapova scrapes through, Nadal shines
Masha almost gets dumped out in round one, while Rafa extends his 100% record at Roland Garros.
Maria Sharapova was given a reminder of how tough life can be as the world No.1 during a busy day four schedule at Roland Garros on Wednesday.
Sharapova was a whisker away from elimination at the first hurdle before scrambling through 6-1, 3-6, 8-6 against world No.103 Evgeniya Rodina as the sun finally came out at the Paris grand slam.
Twice the top seed had to serve to stay in the match and she was two points from defeat at one stage before emerging from the 2 hour, 28-minute battle intact.
“I was very lucky to win,” admitted Sharapova, who hit 68 unforced errors and 17 double faults in blustery conditions on the main Chatrier show court. “Not many things were working for me today after the first set.
I was trying to maybe be somebody that I’m not and that can get you in trouble. When you are out there playing under-14 tennis and pushing balls, you create your own problems.
In contrast, one of Sharapovas main threats for the only grand slam title she is yet to win, second seed Ana Ivanovic, cruised through her second round match against Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2.
In another all-Russian encounter, seventh seed and former runner-up Elena Dementieva eventually outlasted Vera Dushevina to book her place in the second round with a 6-7, 6-0, 6-2 win.
Sixth seed Anna Chakvetadze also struggled before finding her form to beat Nuria Llagostera Vives from Spain 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.
The womens event lost one top ten player on Wednesday, though, when Aussie Casey Dellacqua knocked out home hope Marion Bartoli 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 in their first round clash.
Big names to go through included 11th seed Vera Zvonareva, 14th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 16th seed Maria Kirilenko, 25th seed Nadia Petrova, 26th seed Flavia Pennetta and 30th seed Caroline Wozniacki.
Rafael Nadals passage into the second round dominated the mens news on Wednesday as he brushed aside Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.
The victory keeps intact Nadals unbeaten record at Roland Garros and sets up a second round date with French wildcard Nicolas Devilder.
The three-time champion said afterwards he has had a less than perfect start to the tournament.
“The conditions were very bad and the wind was terrible,” said Nadal. “I had to wait two days because of the rain and could only practise for 20 minutes so it’s difficult to come on to the court and find a good rhythm.”
Third seed Novak Djokovic was the first man into the third round with an impressive 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 success over Spaniard Miguel Angel Lopez Jaen.
Twenty-third seed and 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero was forced to quit his contest with Brazils Marcos Daniel with a right leg injury while leading 7-6, 2-2.
But there were happier times for other stars in the mens draw with victories for fifth seed David Ferrer, 21st seed Radek Stepanek, 25th seed Lleyton Hewitt and No.30 seed Dmitry Tursunov.