x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Ivanovic's improved showing

The reigning French Open women's champion and former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic turned in a polished performance to overcome Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1 6-2 and reach the third round of the French Open yesterday.

The reigning French Open women's champion and former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic turned in a polished performance to overcome Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1 6-2 and reach the third round of the French Open yesterday. The eighth seeded Serbian, whose first-round match lasted more than two hours, showed more urgency in this encounter, serving out the first set to love after Tamarine, 32, hit her forehand return into the net on set point.

Ivanovic broke early in the second before allowing the Thai a glimmer of hope with her own break, but the Serbian soon put her back in her place, wrapping up victory on her second match point with a sizzling forehand that Tamarine swiped wildly. Ivanovic, who defeated the world No 1 Dinara Safina in Paris last year for her maiden grand slam title, will face the Czech Republic's Iveta Benesova for a fourth round spot tomorrow.The 32nd seed beat Russia's Alla Kudryavtseva 6-1, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova continued her encouraging return to form with a thrilling victory over the 11th seed Nadia Petrova. The Russian, who has fallen to 102 in the rankings after injury problems, put in a gutsy display on the Court Suzanne Lenglen to see off her compatriot 6-2, 1-6, 8-6. Sharapova, 22, had looked set for a comfortable day at the office after winning the first set, but Petrova roared back to win a one-sided second set.

Sharapova, whose best performance to date in Paris is two quarter-final appearances, looked to be in serious trouble when she went a break down in the final set. But she rallied to break back, before breaking Petrova's serve again in the 14th game to seal a spot in the third round and a match with Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. Shvedova had a comfortable 6-0, 6-2 win over Arantxa Rus of Holland in her second round game.

* Reuters