Zvonareva battles into round three

Third seed Vera Zvonareva came back from match-point down to defeat ailing German Sabine Lisicki 4-6 7-5 7-5 in the second round of the French Open this evening.

Third seed Vera Zvonareva came back from match-point down to defeat ailing German Sabine Lisicki 4-6 7-5 7-5 in the second round of the French Open this evening.

The Russian, who made the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open last year and reached the last four in Australia in January, was on the verge of defeat at 2-5 in the decider but she held on before breaking back in the next game.

Qualifier Lisicki, who was ranked in the top 25 in 2009 before injuries took their toll, then received treatment from the doctor for apparent exhaustion but she could not recover and Zvonareva took the last five games to clinch victory.

The German collapsed to the clay in distress and had to be carried from Court 1 on a stretcher.

Last year’s finalists Francesca Schiavone and Samantha Stosur cruised through to round three but world number one Caroline Wozniacki needed almost two hours to grind out a 6-3 7-6 (8/6) victory over near namesake Aleksandra Wozniak.

It seemed certain a deciding set would be necessary when Canadian qualifier Wozniak took a 6-3 lead in the tie-break but there was a break in play while Wozniacki queried a line call – something which the French crowds are famously disapproving of.

The jeers did not put the top seed off, though, and she reeled off five points in succession to book her place in round three.

Wozniacki admitted she was fortunate to escape a decider, saying: “It was a tough match. I started off really well and everything was going the way I wanted it to.

“In the second set she played better and I started to play a little bit worse. Thankfully I finished it in two sets. It could easily have been three.”

The Dane, who will face 28th seed Daniela Hantuchova next, won her first clay-court tournament in Brussels last weekend but she is not as at home on the surface as she is on hard courts and she was reluctant to discuss her title chances.

Wozniacki added: “I’ve had great results on clay so far this year. I’m feeling comfortable and confident on the clay. We will just see. The next match will be a tough one. Hopefully I can pull through.”

Defending champion Schiavone dropped only three games against Vesna Dolonts, winning 6-1 6-2, while Stosur defeated Romania’s Simona Halep 6-0 6-2.

The Australian felt the second game, when Halep failed to convert three break points, was crucial to the one-sided nature of the contest thereafter.

Stosur said: “I felt really good out there. Obviously I got off to a really good start, which helps. To break and then to manage to hold serve from 0-40 down I think really set the tone for the match.”

Stosur next meets experienced Argentinian Gisela Dulko, who ousted 32nd seed and Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 6-2 this afternoon.

There looked set to be a shock on Court 2 when German dark horse Julia Goerges, who has beaten Wozniacki twice on clay this season, trailed Lucie Safarova by a set and a break.

But the 17th seed fired up her huge forehand and turned things around in impressive fashion, securing a 2-6 7-5 6-2 victory.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion, blitzed Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1 6-1 while there were also wins today for Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Peng Shuai.

Meanwhile, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who plays Jankovic in round three, will pass Venus Williams as the second highest ranked American after defeating countrywoman Varvara Lepchenko 6-3 2-6 6-3.

Mattek-Sands is more well known for her clothing than her tennis, and her outfit this year includes knee-high black socks and black stickers under her eyes.

The 26-year-old said: “In the world of entertainment, I’m pretty mellow actually. There are people doing a lot more crazy stuff. I think it’s just tennis is so conservative that I wear some high socks and people are like, ’Wow, that’s so different’.

“I don’t mind (the reaction). For me it’s fun. That’s how I am off the court. I just like to be different.”

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