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Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 19:09 UK

Serena survives first-round test

FRENCH OPEN
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.


Serena Williams

Highlights - Serena sees off Zakopalova

Second seed Serena Williams was given a huge scare before beating world number 100 Klara Zakopalova in a thrilling first-round match at the French Open.

Williams easily took the first set but lost her way after five match-points came and went at 5-3 in the second set, eventually losing it in a tie-break.

Zakopalova saved three more match-points in the decider before Williams clinched a 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 win.

Elena Dementieva and Jelena Jankovic had less trouble reaching round two.

Dementieva, the fourth seed, beat South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers 6-4 6-3 after nervous start which saw her broken twice in the first three games.

And former world number one Jankovic looked in convincing form during a rain-interrupted 6-2 6-3 victory over Petra Cetkovska.

I think I played a very good match and I think Serena will be playing better and better, so it was my best chance to beat her

Klara Zakopalova

But Williams had to toil for her first win on clay in 2009, and the unheralded Zakopalova felt she had wasted a great opportunity to beat the 2002 champion.

"I think I played a very good match and I think Serena will be playing better and better, so it was my best chance to beat her," said the 27-year-old Czech.

Zakopalova was given great support by the crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen for a gutsy display that saw her frequently frustrate Williams and force errors from the American.

"The public were fantastic," Zakopalova added. "I'd never played in front of a crowd like this in my life. I'd like to thank the people here in Paris because it was unbelievable."

606: DEBATE

Williams was just relieved to make it through against the world number 100, admitting she had not been at her best.

"I played horrendous," said the American.

"I played junior tennis or even worse. I hadn't won a match on clay all year so I was just desperate for a win."

Jankovic, seeded fifth, was first on court on a blustery day in Paris and had to put up with the worst that the elements could throw at her.

But she was well in control of the first set at 4-1 up when play was stopped and, when her match resumed, quickly racked up four straight games to take the opener before assuming control of the second set too.

Cetkovska, the world number 85, kept her hopes alive by immediately breaking back but she was unable to capitalise when Jankovic's serve wobbled again at the end of the match and was eventually well beaten.

Afterwards, Jankovic backed the plan to install a covered court at Roland Garros by 2011, saying the delay had affected her concentration.

"It's always a good idea to have a roof so then we can continue the match and we don't have to stop and wait around for an hour or more and then come back on court," said Jankovic.

"It's not so easy to stop the match and then especially being in the areas when you have to eat lunch. It's so crowded. There's so many people.

"It's tough to focus and have a relaxing time before you go on court again."

The 24-year-old, who ended 2008 as the top ranked player on the women's tour, is still to win her first Grand Slam singles title but reached the semi-finals in Paris in 2007 and 2008.

Jelena Jankovic
Jankovic's consistency helped her see off Cetkovska and make progress

She will face Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in the second round.

Seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova will play Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan next after easily seeing off French wildcard Claire Feuerstein.

The Russian, a semi-finalist here in 2008 and the runner-up in 2006, was 5-1 up in the first set when the rain came but only needed another 35 minutes to complete her progress.

"I was happy with the first set, not the second as there were too many unforced errors," said Kuznetsova. "But I won it 6-4, so it's OK."

Feurerstein was making her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam and admitted she lacked confidence at first.

The world number 236 said: "I thought that this is not the best draw for me. But then I thought, she's a player, a woman like me, and she's got two arms and two legs and plays tennis just like me."

Another seed going through is Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, who began her match against Vera Dushevina on Monday evening but had to wait overnight before completing a battling 4-6 7-5 6-1 win.

And Australia's Jelena Dokic recovered from losing the first set to Karolina Sprem to triumph 3-6 6-1 6-2 and clinch her first victory in this tournament since 2003.

Dokic will face Dementieva, the Olympic champion, for a place in the last 32.



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see also
French Open day three as it happened
26 May 09 |  Tennis
Retirement sends Djokovic through
26 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day three pictures
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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