Clijsters come through first test

Kim Clijsters declared herself a work in progress after coming through her first match at the French Open in five years in reasonably comfortable fashion against Anastasiya Yakimova today.

Kim Clijsters declared herself a work in progress after coming through her first match at the French Open in five years in reasonably comfortable fashion against Anastasiya Yakimova today.

The Belgian, a 6-2 6-3 winner on Court Suzanne Lenglen, is bidding for her third grand slam title in a row after victories in New York and Melbourne but her build-up to the tournament has been less than ideal.

Clijsters has not played since March after suffering a serious ankle injury while dancing at a wedding, while this tournament is only her second on clay since she came out of retirement in 2009.

The world number two committed 33 unforced errors and let slip a 5-1 lead in the second set before saving more break points to secure victory and a place in the second round against Arantxa Rus.

Clijsters, who missed the French Open last year with a foot injury, said: "I was excited to go out there. I felt that I was moving well. I was playing aggressive tennis. There are obviously a few little things that will have to be better every match that I play.

"I was not on target as much as I would like to be. There were a few deciding moments at the end, and at the end of the first set as well, where I made some easy mistakes."

Clijsters is wearing heavy strapping on her ankle, and she added: "It feels steady and good. It's important now when I get back to the hotel that I ice it a lot and that I take good care of it, and I will have treatment.

"Then tomorrow I'll just make sure I keep moving it so that I don't get more inflammation than I have already."

Seventh seed Maria Sharapova looked bang on the money in her first-round encounter with Mirjana Lucic, winning nine games in a row to ease through 6-3 6-0.

The Russian, who will complete her set of grand slams if she lifts the title on the Paris clay, marked herself out as a potential title contender by winning the prestigious warm-up event in Rome earlier this month.

Sharapova, who next faces Caroline Garcia, said: "It was a tough beginning because she started off serving really big and I didn't get too many looks on second serves. Once I got a good rhythm I felt like I started playing better and better.

"It's a good way to start. The first round is always a little tricky, especially when you don't know your opponent too well."

Fourth seed Victoria Azarenka, also one of the favourites for the title, did not have things all her own way against Andrea Hlavackova but ground out a 6-3 6-3 victory while sixth seed and Australian Open finalist Li Na came through a three-set tussle with Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

The women's draw lost a former champion, though, as 2008 winner Ana Ivanovic slumped to 7-6 (7/3) 0-6 6-2 defeat against Sweden's Johanna Larsson.

The 20th seed, who has struggled with wrist and stomach problems this season, let the tears flow as she reflected on the reasons for her failure.

"I wish I knew," she said.

"I try to look back (to 2008) and see what I did then and to do the same things. I'm just trying to work it out. I'm very upset I lost because, even though I was injured, I felt like I was playing well."

There was an emotional encounter first up on Court Philippe Chatrier where Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano lost 6-3 6-1 to 24th seed Jarmila Gajdosova only a week after the death of her fiance and coach, Stephane Vidal, from a brain tumour.

Vidal, 32, had urged Razzano, who wore a black ribbon in tribute, to play at Roland Garros, and she fought back tears as she said: "It took me a lot of courage to get on the court today. It's painful. It's hard.

"If I did it, it's for Stephane. But also for me, because he wanted me to play. He wanted me to continue to go on with my life, even in these very painful circumstances."

Australian Gajdosova has not had an easy time of it either after splitting from husband Sam Groth three weeks ago.

Fast-rising 15th seed Andrea Petkovic saved three set points before beating Bojana Jovanovski 6-4 7-6 (7/3) while Yanina Wickmayer, the 21st seed, put aside concerns about a back problem with a thumping 6-0 6-3 win over Monica Niculescu.

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