Tue, May 27, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Federer, Jankovic earn wins in Paris

DOWN AND OUT IN PARISCypriot No. 17 seed Marcos Baghdatis didn’t last long at Roland Garros, losing in straight sets to Simone Bolelli of Italy, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2

AGENCIES , PARIS

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia returns to Monica Niculescu of Romania during their first round match at the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris yesterday.

PHOTO: EPA

Roger Federer’s 10th French Open campaign enjoyed a double boost yesterday when he negotiated his way past Sam Querrey and then saw possible quarter-final opponent Richard Gasquet pull out injured.

Top seed and world No. 1 Federer, still missing a Roland Garros title from his collection of 12 Grand Slam trophies, saw off world No. 40 Querrey 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in just over 90 minutes.

“This was a potentially dangerous match so I’m happy to get through and reach the next round,” Federer said.

French eighth seed Gasquet, who was set to meet the Swiss in the quarter-finals, handed Federer a further boost by withdrawing from the tournament because of a left knee injury.

Gasquet, who was scheduled to play compatriot Florent Serra in the first round yesterday, has been replaced in the draw by Colombian Santiago Giraldo.

The 21-year-old Gasquet has had a disappointing season so far, winning 10 matches and losing as many, prompting a change of coach last weekend.

Organizers also said that German Florian Mayer, who was due to play Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, also withdrew because of gastro-enteritis. He will be replaced by Russian Evgeny Korolev.

Women’s third seed Jelena Jankovic, who reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam event for the first time in Paris 12 months ago, enjoyed a 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 victory over Romanian lucky loser Monica Niculescu.

The 23-year-old will next meet either Italy’s Tathiana Garbin or New Zealander Marina Erakovic for a place in the third round as she plans to make the most of the shock retirement of Justine Henin, the winner here for the last three years.

“I don’t see myself as the favorite,” Jankovic said. “I am the No. 3 in the world. There are others who are favorites but I feel I have made improvements.”

“I am more mature. I have played in three Grand Slam semi-finals and lost to the eventual winner. Justine was the one against whom I always had the most trouble, so I have a better chance now,” she said.

China’s Yan Zi, whose dream of Olympic gold has kept her battling despite injury and tragedy at home, fell at the first hurdle yeterday.

The 23-year-old, who comes from the quake-hit area of Sizhuan, battled for just over two hours with her 108th-ranked opponent and a right thigh problem before falling 1-6, 6-4, 8-6 to French veteran Emilie Loit.

“I’ve had a right thigh problem for the past few weeks, but this year is important so I’m trying to play on,” explained the 42nd-ranked Yan.

Her dream of winning an Olympic medal has kept her focused despite the drama surrounding her family and friends in China.

“My mum and dad and all the family are there. All my team, coaches and other young players are also from there. Our home is okay, so that’s not too bad even if they are still worried because of the aftershocks,” said Yan, who was playing in Rome when news of the disaster came through.

“I kept trying to call and call but couldn’t get through, all the lines were down. I was really worried, it was more than a day before I got any news,” she said.

But even her determination was not enough to see her past a 28-year-old opponent who is playing in her 12th French Open.

Yan saved a match point in the ninth game of the second set, but despite fighting back in the third set could not stop an increasingly confident Loit, who sealed victory on her second match point, throwing her racket into the crowd in delight.

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