Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stosur cruises into third round

Updated May 31, 2012 08:09:59

Samantha Stosur and Victoria Azarenka moved closer to a potential quarter-final showdown at the French Open with both coasting to straight-sets wins in the second round.

Former champions Ana Ivanovic (2008) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009) also made it through to the third round, but Venus Williams failed in her bid to keep the family flag flying following sister Serena's shock first-round defeat.

Top-seeded Azarenka from Belarus defeated German qualifier Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-1, 6-1, while Australian sixth seed Stosur saw off Irina Falconi of the United States 6-1, 6-4.

Stosur needed a mere 63 minutes to put Falconi to the sword at the Roland Garros "Bull Ring", powering into the last 32 for the fourth successive year.

Australia's 2010 runner-up has dropped just nine games in four sets this campaign, but is sure to face a much sterner test of her title credentials on Friday against Russian rival Nadia Petrova.

Petrova, the 27th seed who defeated South African Chanelle Scheepers 6-3, 6-3 , boasts a 5-2 lead over Stosur in their career series.

Their past two clashes have been epics, both going the distance with Stosur triumphing in a midnight thriller at last year's US Open and Petrova gaining revenge at Indian Wells two months ago.

"It's still only the third round and there is a long way to go yet before you are holding the trophy," Stosur said.

"I think it's just one of those things - you have to knuckle down.

"I know that I've had good runs here in the past.

"Now I'm up to the third step of that."

Up against a player who was making her grand slam debut at Roland Garros, world number one Azarenka needed just 55 minutes to move through, allowing her opponent to dig her own grave with 29 unforced errors.

Azarenka won the Australian Open in January and is seeking to become the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the first two grand slam tournaments of the year.

"It was a different game for sure today," she said, after battling back from a set and 4-0 down in the first round against Italy's Alberta Brianti.

"I didn't really know my opponent and it took a few games to understand what she does.

"But after a few games I found my rhythm and definitely played much better today."

Also looking to put together another strong run at Roland Garros is 2008 winner Ivanovic, who stormed past Shahar Peer of Israel 6-2, 6-2.

The former world number one has failed to reach the quarter-finals in Paris in the last three years and has yet to reach a tournament final this year.

But the 13th seed's form against Peer looked good and she has a decent looking draw through to the last eight, where third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland could be waiting.

"I've been playing more consistently, improving with each week," Ivanovic said.

"I am starting to play a lot freer and building points. I am actually starting to enjoy the process again."

Kuznetsova, who succeeded Ivanovic as champion in Paris, ousted Taiwan's Chan Yung-Jan 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

Williams, playing in her 15th Roland Garros, was no match for third seeded Radwanska, falling 6-2, 6-3 to complete a miserable 24 hours for the Williams family.

Sister Serena late Tuesday crashed out after being a set up and 5-1 in the second set tie-break to France's Virginie Razzano.

Among the other qualifiers for the third round were rising US player Sloane Stephens, who defeated compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 6-1, and 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, who beat Vania King of the United States 6-0, 6-2.

China's 31st seed Zheng Jie went down 6-2, 6-4 to Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, who goes on to play top seed Azarenka in the third round.

French hopes, high after Razzano's thrilling win, were given a further boost with Mathilde Johansson defeating 24th seeded Czech Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (7-1), 6-2.

But there was heartbreak for last year's beaten semi-finalist Marion Bartoli.

The French number one and eighth seed lost 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to Petra Martic of Croatia


Tags: tennis, sport, france

First posted May 30, 2012 20:27:46

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