Croatian fourth seed Marin Cilic flirted with danger on Tuesday against Russian Igor Andreev in his first clay court match of the season before prevailing 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 6-4 in their second-round clash.
Former Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga played to the crowd as the charismatic Frenchman finally made his main-draw debut in the principality, defeating Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 also in the second round.
Tenth-ranked Tsonga came through in just over two hours, losing serve just once on the way to a match against either two-time champion Juan Carlos Ferrero or German Benjamin Becker.
“It was not an easy first match, he’s [Almagro] played a bit more than me on that surface,” the winner said. “But I’m adapting pretty quickly, just a little while to get used to it and off I went.”
“It’s always good to win. It’s good for your confidence, especially against a player like him,” Tsonga said.
Cilic took his time getting into form as he played for the first time since a long Davis Cup match last September on clay.
“It was my first match on the clay this season and Igor has some matches already,” said Cilic, who took his record on head to heads to 4-1. “He really pushed me, it was a good opening match.”
Cilic faced 18 break points, saving 14 in the struggle with the Russian. The big-hitting Croatian was held to a modest five aces and broke Andreev on 11 of his 19 chances.
Spain’s sixth seed Fernando Verdasco started with a win over France’s Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-1.
There were also wins for Michael Llodra, who put out Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3 and Florent Serra, a winner over Gallic compatriot Stephane Robert 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-4.
Miami finalist and tenth seed Tomas Berdych ended the hopes of Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-0.
Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka repeated his Casablanca title victory of Sunday as he again beat Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-2, 6-4. The top eight seeds benefitted from first-round byes, with No.1 seed Novak Djokovic, five-time champion Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray due to start yesterday.
■FAMILY CIRCLE CUP
AP, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Former champion Jelena Jankovic shook off a passive start to win her opening match of the Family Circle Cup over unseeded Edina Gallovits 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday.
It was Jankovic’s first match on clay this season and she struggled. The Serbian, ranked seventh in the world, put five shots into the net in her first three games.
However, she pulled herself together after the first set, breaking the Romanian in the second set. She wouldn’t trail on serve for the rest of the hard-fought match, despite screaming at herself a couple of times after missing shots. She didn’t smile until Gallovits netted her shot during a long rally on match point.
“I think it’s a good thing I played a tough match like that because it gives you confidence and you get fitter and fitter for the next rounds,” said Jankovic, the 2007 champ who gets a day off before her round of 16 match today.
Gallovits, who came into the match ranked 127th in the world, was able to place her shots well in the first two sets. However, by the third set of the two-hour match, balls that were just in suddenly started going wide and long.
Gallovits said she tired mentally, not physically.
“I feel like I pushed too much when I shouldn’t have and I didn’t go for it when I had it,” Gallovits said. “It was hard to find the median in the third set.”
No. 7 seed Vera Zvonareva, No. 10 seed Elena Vesnina, No. 14 seed Vera Dushevina and No. 15 seed Melinda Czink all advanced in straight-set wins, while No. 12 seed Aleksandra Wozniak needed three sets to move on to the round of 16.
Zvonareva, the runner-up to Serena Williams in 2008, won her second-round match 6-2, 6-0 against Paraguay’s Rossana De Los Rios.
In first-round play, No. 11 Virginie Razzano of France became the first seeded player to lose, falling to Monique Adamczak of Australia 4-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Adamczak took advantage of her first main draw appearance since September to post her first tour win since January 2008. She made the draw as a lucky loser from qualifying when Dominika Cibulkova withdrew with a hip strain, then overcame Razzano.
Olga Govortsova of Belarus, the runner-up on Sunday at Ponte Vedra, retired with left knee tendinitis after losing the first eight games to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic.
Two-time finalist Patty Schnyder of Switzerland beat South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and was on course to meet top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the third round.
Elena Vesnina of Russia defeated 17-year-old British qualifier Heather Watson 7-6 (4), 6-3, and other first-round winners included Vera Dushevina of Russia, Peng Shuai of China, Vania King and Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US, and Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017