French Open: Sharapova, Kvitova lead women’s advance

Russian thrashes Cadantu without losing a game.

Afp May 29, 2012

PARIS: Three former women’s grand slam champions and a young British hope reached the second round of the French Open yesterday.

Maria Sharapova whipped Romania’s Alexandra Cadantu 6-0, 6-0 in just 48 minutes as the Russian second-seed, seeking to lift the only major she has never won, cruised towards a meeting with Japan’s Ayumi Morita who defeated Polona Hercog of Slovenia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

“I’m really happy with the way my preparation has been coming into this tournament,” beamed Sharapova, claycourt winner at Stuttgart and Rome this season as well as twice a semi-finalist at Roland Garros. “I feel I have improved every year and I enjoy the sport much more,” said the 25-year-old, beaten in the last-four by Li Na on her last Roland Garros appearance.

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the fourth-seeded Czech, thrashed Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 6-1, 6-2 in 54 minutes to join Sharapova in the next round where she meets Urszula Radwanska of Poland. Also marching on was 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, seeded 14, who defeated Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 6-1.

Guernsey-born Briton Heather Watson, who managed to reach the second round on her debut last year, thereby entering the top 100, beat Russian Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4 to earn a match-up against Germany’s 25th seed Julia Goerges. The German sealed her progress with a 7-6, 6-4 win over Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecká.

An early men’s winner yesterday was Spanish sixth-seed David Ferrer, who dismissed Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

Hewitt keen to toe line a little longer

As a grizzled veteran of 52 Grand Slam tournaments, Australia’s former world number one Lleyton Hewitt is not ready to throw in his courtside towel just yet as he gets to grips with his new bionic toe.

The former Wimbledon and US Open champion may ultimately have come off worst in a four-hour joust in Monday’s French Open first-round meeting with Slovenian Blaz Kavcic but just being out there scrapping was a victory of sorts for a driven competitor with two screws and a metal plate in the big toe of his left foot.

Hewitt, who was the youngest ever world number one at 20 and held the ranking across two seasons, had the surgery on a toe rendered arthritic and misshapen after years of digging into hard courts to launch his service action.

“I was still hungry enough to have a shot,” he said. I feel like the last couple of years have been ruined by surgeries and trying to come back and playing within injections and the works. This was a last effort surgery that I had straight after the Australian Open. A lot of people didn’t think it could be done, and here I am at a Grand Slam.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2012.


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