Venus dresses for success in Paris victory

VENUS WILLIAMS reached the third round of the French Open for the ninth successive year yesterday, but found herself answering more questions about her outfit than her performance.

The world number two’s serve, which had malfunctioned badly in her opening match, clicked into gear as she brushed aside Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-2 6-4 on Philippe Chatrier Court.

Having had major problems holding serve against Patty Schnyder, Williams was not broken once yesterday, setting up a clash with 26th seed Dominika Cibulkova. Williams wore the same self-designed black lace number she had unveiled against Schnyder, a see-through skirted bodice that would have left little to the imagination if not for a skin-coloured undergarment.

The 29-year-old denied the dress was deliberately provocative.

“That was never the objective,” said Williams, who caused a similar controversy with her choice of outfit at the Australian Opon.!

Cibulkova avoided an upset after coming from a set down to crush Varvara Lepchenko 4-6 6-2 6-0 in the first match on Court Five.

Williams and Cibulkova’s matches were among just six of yesterday’s women’s singles encounters to finish by mid-afternoon on a rain-hit fourth day at Roland Garros.

There were three delays in total, the second of them lasting for around an hour. A shock was on the cards on Court One, with defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova having lost the first set against Andrea Petkovic 6-4.

Meanwhile, rain caused major disruption for the first time but the real storm was sparked by a man who managed to beat the weather.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga raced through a horribly one-sided 6-0 6-1 6-4 second-round win over fellow Frenchman Josselin Ouanna in just one hour 19 minutes on Suzanne Lenglen Court this afternoon.

And while the heavens were opening at Roland Garros, the eighth seed was pouring out his frustration at tournament organisers, who he accused of handicapping his hopes of delivering a home-bred champion.

Tsonga was unhappy at having to play his first-round match – which saw him narrowly avoid defeat in a five-set marathon – on Sunday, revealing he had asked to start his campaign on Monday or yesterday.

The 25-year-old claimed Andy Murray would not be treated with such contempt at Wimbledon. Tsonga said: “What really bothered me is that, if you look at Murray, if he decides on a day or hour at Wimbledon, nobody’s going to impose anything on him.

“In the US, I suppose it’s the same thing for the best American players.

“Today we’re in France, I’m French, I’m French number one.”

Tsonga will face Thiemo De Bakker next after the Dutchman shocked 32nd seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7/5) 7-5.

Defending champion Roger Federer was not so lucky with the rain as he survived two delays and a first-set wobble to cruise into round three with victory over Alejandro Falla.

Other players to beat the rain today included 10th seed Marin Cilic, who enjoyed a 6-3 7-6 (7/4) win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver, and 11th seed Mikhail Youzhny, who came from a set down to beat Lukas Lacko.

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