Coming off the biggest clay-court title of her career, Maria Sharapova rolled into the second round of the French Open by beating Mirjana Lucic of Croatia 6-3, 6-0 yesterday.
The seventh-seeded Russian won the Italian Open before traveling to Roland Garros to seek the only Grand Slam title she has never won.
Also advancing to the second round were Australian Open finalists Andy Murray and Li Na.
Against Lucic on center court, Sharapova was not troubled. She won nine straight games to finish the match and never faced a break point.
“If you feel pressure, it’s part of the business. It’s part of the sport,” Sharapova said of the expectations placed on her.
Sharapova, who will next face French wild-card Caroline Garcia, won the title at Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008.
The sixth-seeded Li, who became the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam final, dominated at times and struggled at times in her 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic.
Li trailed 3-1 in the first set, but then won 10 of the next 12 games to lead 5-2 in the second, before her opponent forced the tiebreaker. She held two match points in the tiebreaker, but then lost four straight points.
In the third, Li jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held on to win.
First on Court Philippe Chatrier, an emotional Virginie Razzano played despite the death of her fiance eight days ago. The Frenchwoman, playing with a black ribbon on her shirt, lost to 24th-seeded Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 6-3, 6-1.
“I felt a lot of emotion, a lot of pain on court today,” Razzano said.
Razzano’s fiance and coach Stephane Vidal died on May 16 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor nine years ago. He was 32.
The 28-year-old Razzano said last week that she asked Vidal before he died if she should play at Roland Garros and he said: “Yes, you need to play.”
Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic also lost.
The 20th-seeded Serb, who won the title at Roland Garros in 2008, fell to Johanna Larsson of Sweden 7-6 (7/3), 0-6, 6-2.
Murray made it through to the second round by beating French qualifier Eric Prodon 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
No. 20 Florian Mayer of Germany and No. 21 Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine also advanced.
In the women’s doubles tournament, Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung fell at the first hurdle.
Chuang and her partner, Olga Govortsova of Belarus, were beaten 4-6, 0-6 by Casey Dellacqua and Rennae Stubbs of Australia.
On Monday evening, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who has yet to win a Grand Slam title, was in a rush as she beat 40-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date Krumm 6-0, 6-2.
Date Krumm, who made her French Open debut in 1989 when Wozniacki was not even born, caused a stir when she knocked out former world No. 1 Dinara Safina last year, but she never threatened another upset.
Novak Djokovic’s path ahead became less challenging when possible quarter-final opponent Tomas Berdych became the first big casualty in the men’s singles.
The Czech sixth seed, a semi-finalist last year, slumped to a shock 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 9-7 defeat by French qualifier Stephane Robert.
Berdych appeared to be in control, before the world No. 140 began to sprinkle Court Two with forehand winners.
Third seed Roger Federer was given a decent workout before seeing off Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).