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Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:23 UK

Sizzling Sharapova wins thriller

Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, live streaming and daily text commentary on BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live plus second week commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. TV coverage on Eurosport.

Sharapova celebrates after another successful comeback win

Former world number one Maria Sharapova beat 11th seed Nadia Petrova 6-2 1-6 8-6 in an epic three-set battle to make the French Open third round.

The Russian, ranked 102 after a year of injury, had a topsy-turvy first two sets and then won a 71-minute last set.

World number one Dinara Safina defeated Vitalia Diatchenko, while defending champion Ana Ivanovic overcame Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn.

Sharapova will next play Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova.

The 22-year-old - a semi-finalist in Paris two years ago - has not played a Grand Slam since Wimbledon last year because of a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Venus Williams' game against Lucie Safarova was suspended, with the Czech taking the first set 7-6 (7-5).

Following her victory, Sharapova said: "These types of matches are very important for me although I spent more time on the court than I wanted to.

"But I'm learning new things. It was a great match where I had to fight really hard and that's what I did. I'm glad I picked myself up and I could win."


The 22-year-old wrapped up the first set in 32 minutes, taking the last four games on the bounce, but fellow Russian Petrova, who had won just one of her last six matches against her opponent, levelled the match with breaks in the fourth and sixth.

Sharapova fought off a break point to lead 7-6 and secured victory with a cracking forehand to win in two hours and 12 minutes.

Top seed Safina took just 55 minutes to dispose of 18-year-old qualifier Diatchenko, the world number 151, 6-1 6-1 and will next play compatriot and 27th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat France's Julie Coin 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

After whitewashing British number one Anne Keothavong in the first round, 2008 runner-up Safina extended her winning streak to 17 matches.

"It's a pretty good start," said Safina. "I just played a good game, good enough to win."

The only resistance offered by qualifier Diatchenko came at the end of the first set, when she won a game on her own serve, and the beginning of the second, when she was able to break Safina.

However, these were merely minor blips for the dominant Safina, who sealed the victory with a forehand winner.

Dinara Safina
Safina beat British number one Anne Keothavong in the first round

"It should be a great match against Pavlyuchenkova," Safina said. "She's having a great season. I've never played against her or practised with her so I'm looking forward to meeting her."

Defending champion Ivanovic had few problems in defeating 32-year-old Tanasugarn 6-1 6-2 to line up a third-round clash with Czech number 32 seed Iveta Benesova.

Ivanovic, the 21-year-old who has had a disappointing year since lifting her first major title at Roland Garros last summer, broke Tanasugarn in the fourth game and continued to dominate her 32-year-old opponent.

The eighth-seeded Serb wore a bandage to protect her recently injured right knee but she was in total control, breaking twice early in the second set to quickly wrap up the win.

China's number two Li Na, seeded 25th, overcame Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky 6-1 6-4 and will play Belarus's Olga Govortsova.

Also through are ninth seed Victoria Azarenka who beat German Kristina Barrois 7-6 (7-1) 7-5, 21st seed Alize Cornet, courtesy of a 6-4 7-5 win over Estonian Maret Ani, and 29th seed Agnes Svaray, who secured a 6-2 6-0 win over Russian Elena Vesnina.

Portugal's 16-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito impressed the French crowd after a comfortable win over Chinese 15th seed Zheng Jie, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year.

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see also
French Open day four as it happened
27 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day four pictures
27 May 09 |  Tennis
Battling Murray sees off Starace
27 May 09 |  Tennis
Serena survives first-round test
26 May 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis

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