French Open - Women: Azarenka squeaks through

Mon, 28 May 12:54:00 2012

Victoria Azarenka narrowly escaped becoming the first women's top seed to lose in the first round of the French Open when she recovered from losing the opening set to beat Italian Alberta Brianti 6-7(6) 6-4 6-2.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus reacts during her match against Alberta Brianti of Italy during the French Open - 0

Azarenka, 10 years younger and 104 ranking places higher than her opponent, was in patchy form, giving away breaks with double faults and errors and screaming in anguish at her own mistakes.

After losing the first-set tiebreak 6-8, the Belarusian world number one found herself five points from defeat as she was 0-4 and break point down in the second set.

However, just when it seemed that Brianti was on the verge of winning her first match at Roland Garros in five appearances, Azarenka put the Italian under pressure in a long fifth game.

The Australian Open champion clawed her way back, then broke to love in the eighth game of the third set to take victory in two hours and 16 minutes.

Told at her news conference that she had made 60 unforced errors, Azarenka said: "I think that says it all. Bad days happen. Unfortunately today I had way more mistakes than I usually do but it happens sometimes.

"You can sit and look for excuses, what happened or whatever. I just try to not approach it that way. Just try to think what can I do better next time?

"Tomorrow is the day that I have to work. It's a new opportunity. That's it."

The 22-year-old Belarussian said she was no longer troubled by a right shoulder injury which forced her to pull out of the Italian Open nearly two weeks ago.

"It's much better, the pain went away," she said. "But I didn't have much time to prepare."

Li Na began the defence of her French Open title with an easy win, defeating Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-1 in 58 minutes.

China's Li, who became the first player from an Asian nation to take a grand slam singles title when she won at Roland Garros last year, was never challenged by the 43rd-ranked Cirstea.

In front of stands that were barely half-full on Philippe Chatrier Court, Li, who played with her right knee strapped up, allowed the Romanian few chances and few points.

Li said she was still upset about losing to Russian Maria Sharapova in a dramatic and rain-interrupted Italian Open final eight days ago.

"After that final I told everyone: 'Don't talk to me about tennis for three days'," the world number seven said.

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska made short work of her first opponent, flattening Serbian Bojana Jovanovski 6-1 6-0 in 49 minutes.

French Open : Day 2

Radwanska set up a second-round meeting with American former world number one Venus Williams, who is finding her feet in tennis again after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

Jovanovski tried to fight back at the end of the first set on Court One, saving three set points on her own serve before putting a backhand into the net.

The second set was even more one-sided, with Pole Radwanska allowing her rival a single point in the first three games.

Jovanovski produced another backhand error on matchpoint, and her ordeal was over.

Fifteenth seed Dominika Cibulkova was also swift in beating French wildcard Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 6-1 and will play Vania King in the second round, the American beating Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoeboeva 6-4 6-2.

French eighth seed Marion Bartoli also eased through to the second round with a 6-3 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. But 12th seeded Sabine Lisicki endured a torrid day, losing 6-4 6-3 to American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

hlts Roland Garros: Azaren

Reuters

Comment 3 - 23 of 23

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  1. Haha Sam as obsessed with Serena as ever can't­ mention anyone without drawing down Serena. By the way­ you completely wrote Serena off a few weeks back and­ yet here she is as the big favourite. Let the games­ begin but seeing that performance by Azarenka how can­ you possibly believe that's good enough to win­ another match let alone a Slam shows how dillusional­ you are. Given her piss easy draw of course she can go­ far but with Stosur in the top half she won't make­ the final.

    From cormac, on Tue 29 May 11:15
  2. Awesome vica six more matches to go! Let the drama­ queen Serena win the little tournaments and u win just­ the slams! I expect u to win the French and the is­ open!

    From Sam parikh, on Tue 29 May 10:59
  3. 49 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!

    From Krzysztof, on Tue 29 May 10:23
  4. Azarenka's match just confirmed my opinion that­ nowadays female's tennis is on a very low level.­ When I started watching tennis in 2006 there was a­ number of great champions and some very good players.­ Now the only great is Serena (by the way I am not her­ fan at all, but I cannot deny the obvious thing). All­ the others who are on top are just starlets. The most­ disappinting for me is Kvitova's flop in the form.­ She just could not stand pressure when all around told­ she must be number 1 very soon. Just remember­ Azarenka's and Sharapova's recent lossses to­ Serena (by the way, they lost with the identical score:­ 6:1, 6:3). I am sorry I cannot be Serena's fan as­ she is the only who deserves to be respected. It's­ a relief that we have a contrary situation in the­ male's tennis.

    From Elene, on Tue 29 May 9:56
  5. 49 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ))

    From Krzysztof, on Tue 29 May 9:52
  6. Azarenka's match just confirmed my opinion that­ nowadays the female's tennis is on a very low­ level. When I started watching tennis in 2006 there­ were a number of great champions and some very good­ players. Now the only great whom I may see is Serena­ (by the way, I am not her fan

    From Elene, on Tue 29 May 9:48
  7. 49 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    From Krzysztof, on Tue 29 May 9:41
  8. No big deal ! Top players frequently struggles in­ early rounds particularly the 1st game.. Victoria came­ back and won quite easilly --6-7, 6.4, 6.2 .

    From courtney, on Mon 28 May 21:02
  9. Azarenko is a squealing piglet in a skirt. Good luck to­ anyone who whips her butt. She is so damn noisy she­ should be banned from playing. Good player - but she­ needs to shut her mouth!

    From Carnak, on Mon 28 May 18:40
  10. Azarenka might go far but not due to how she's­ playing it'll be due to her cakewalk draw. The­ other 3 quarters are way way tougher.

    From cormac, on Mon 28 May 18:35
  11. Brianti just choked.

    From guy, on Mon 28 May 18:21
  12. waw our transvestite is through!

    From Tomic, on Mon 28 May 17:38
  13. Am just glad she turned it around and won. I dont think­ her game today will get her far in the Fo especially in­ the second week but just hope she does better than the­ quaters thats the best sharapova can get to before she­ is on her way home.

    From Bad_Girl, on Mon 28 May 15:47
  14. nah that's it with the first match jitters. poor­ pfitzmeier will not know what hit her next. besides she­ probably will not stop buzzing early enough over her­ defeat of caroline garcia to focus in time for vika.­ the worry for the azarenka fans is that another stinker­ can pop up at anytime in the next couple of weeks,­ although one would hope not, as she has made­ commendable improvements in her emotional management­ during the past year.

    From SANCHEZ, on Mon 28 May 14:29
  15. This must give hope to Pfitzmeier, what a cracking­ contest that could be.

    From Andrew, on Mon 28 May 14:16
  16. She won't get far playing this way

    From Jola, on Mon 28 May 14:15
  17. brilliant stuff vika , even though its not on your­ comfortable surfacece , brilliant is all i can say ,­ though not a good match 60 unforced errors , you still­ manage to win the game . sharapoopoo must be very angry­ now ....hahahahahaha

    From Felix, on Mon 28 May 13:55
  18. The TRUE mark of a champion isn't just when you win­ NICE but also when you win UGLY. Today Aza won ugly;­ Brianti had her "by the balls" - excuse the­ pun - for a set and a half, and then Aza dug deep and­ turned it around, from the brink of disaster. Her next­ match should see her in much better condition mentally.­ I am more sorry for Mona Barthel; what was wrong with­ her today, poor thing?

    From HsSimon, on Mon 28 May 13:45
  19. she is not wining the fo, the winner is between­ sharapova, li na and serena.

    From anthony, on Mon 28 May 13:24
  20. Cormac, can I thank you for taking your head out of the­ oven long enough to post. Is there any point me­ trying to explain tennis tennis to someone like you? I­ doubt it

    From Wozzilroy, on Mon 28 May 13:18
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