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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Sharapova battles to opening win
World number two Maria Sharapova
Sharapova has not gone further than the quarter-finals at Roland Garros
World number two Maria Sharapova made a tentative start to her French Open campaign as she battled to a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) win over Emilie Loit of France.

Reigning champion Justine Henin was made to work in her 7-5 6-1 second-round win over Tamira Paszek.

Amelie Mauresmo defeated Laura Granville 6-0 7-5 in the first round.

Venus Williams hit the fastest recorded serve in women's tour history, 128.8 mph, in her 6-1 7-6 (10-8) second-round win over Ashley Harkleroad.

The serve broke the previous mark of 127 mph set by her sister Serena at the Cincinnati hard-court tournament last year.

Harkleroad did manage to get her racket on the ball, making it a service winner rather than an ace.

Williams noticed the speed on the court's radar meter and said: "I just lost a bit of focus there, for sure. I loved it.

"When I was younger, I was always trying to serve harder and harder, and now I'm not trying to serve hard. So it was unexpected."

Henin looked to be easily heading for the first set as she carved out a 5-0 lead. Paszek impressively battled back and Henin eventually won the set 7-5.

The Belgian took control in the second and despite a 70-minute rain break holding her up at 3-0 in the second set, she quickly moved in for the kill on the resumption.

"I loved it," said Henin. "I just lost a bit of focus there, for sure."

"The beginning of the match was exceptional for me, but it was not a real fight."

Former French Open champion Anastasia Myskina was knocked out after suffering a 6-1 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Meghann Shaughnessy.

The Russian was undone by repeated mistakes, making 13 unforced errors in the second set alone.

606: DEBATE

Myskina won the French Open in 2004 but has slipped to 51st in the world rankings, in part because of a left toe injury that required surgery in January.

She has now not won a match since August last year and also suffered a first-round exit at the 2006 US Open.

"The scar is really sensitive," said the 25-year-old, after only her second match of the year.

"I've been practicing for one month, and I was just thinking to come here and see what can I do with my foot. But it wasn't that good.

My shoulder is sill not where I want it to be but I just love competing

Maria Sharapova

"I knew I was not going to win but I just wanted to see how my foot would feel."

"The doctor basically told me that he's not sure if I would get back on court after the surgery, because it's the foot, it's difficult. In my mind, I'm still scared to run and this is a line I have to cross."

Myskina added that she would consider quitting if her foot problems persist, preventing her from returning to the top 10.

Sharapova broke Loit twice to comfortably take the first set under grey skies in Paris but found the going much harder in the second.

Loit broke the 2004 Wimbledon champion in the fifth game of the second to take a 3-2 lead. The Russian responded by breaking back only to drop serve again in the 11th game, enabling the world number 41 to serve for the set.

Loit, however, was broken and Sharapova took the tie-break 7-4 with a forehand winner on her first match point.

Sharapova made her competitive return in Istanbul last week after two months out to treat the tendonitis pain in her shoulder.

I'm quite satisfied with my match, there were some good things in there

Amelie Mauresmo

"My shoulder is still not where I want it to be but I just love competing and I have a lot of respect for this tournament," she said. "I am willing to go out there and fight.

"It will be the toughest thing for me to go out there and win this tournament but I am willing to do it. This is also my preparation for Wimbledon."

Mauresmo, who has never gone beyond the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, was irresistible in the first set but found herself 3-0 down in the second.

The 27-year-old bounced back with five games in a row and eventually sealed the win with a smash on her first match point.

"I had a great start but then I could not maintain that pace and she was able to fight her way back into the match," said Mauresmo.

"After that I was able to take command again. I'm quite satisfied with my match, there were some good things in there."

Last year's beaten finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova had little trouble in defeating Russian Ekaterina Bychkova 6-0 6-3.

The victory was sweet revenge for Kuznetsova, who was defeated by Bychkova at the 2005 US Open to become the first defending champion to lose in the opening round.

Kuznetsova will now take on Shaughnessy in the second round.



SEE ALSO
Sharapova v Loit as it happened
30 May 07 |  Tennis
Wednesday's order of play
29 May 07 |  Tennis
Venus overcomes spirited Cornet
28 May 07 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
22 May 07 |  Tennis
Contact the BBC TV tennis team
24 May 07 |  Tennis
Women's French Open draw
25 May 07 |  Tennis
Men's French Open draw
25 May 07 |  Tennis


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