Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and her partner Peng Shuai of China defeated Irina Falconi of the US and Bosnia’s Mervana Jugic-Salkic 7-5, 6-2 at Roland Garros in Paris yesterday to advance to the second round of the French Open women’s doubles tournament.
Seeded eighth, Hsieh and Peng won the 73-minute encounter in straight sets, despite only getting 55 percent of their first serves in, compared with their opponents’ 72 percent. However, they won 65 percent of their first-serve points and took six of eight break-point chances to comfortably go through to the second round, where they face Georgia’s Oksana Kalashnikova and Alicja Rosolska of Poland.
In the men’s singles, Rafael Nadal came from behind for the second match in a row, surviving another shaky start to beat Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Entering the tournament, seven-time champion Nadal had lost only 14 sets in 53 matches at the French Open. Now he has lost the opening set in each of the first two rounds. Last year, Nadal dropped one set in the entire tournament en route to a record seventh Roland Garros title.
Nadal, forced to wait a day because of rain, lost his serve four times and needed nearly three hours to reach the third round. When Klizan’s final shot sailed out, Nadal gave the cheering crowd a relieved thumbs-up and managed a weak smile.
“I started a bit too defensive,” he said. “I improved a little bit during the match.”
Nadal also lost the first set of his opening match against Daniel Brands and was down 3-0 in the second-set tiebreaker before he rallied.
The Spaniard, now 54-1 at the French Open, is seeking to become first man to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam event. Since returning in February from a seven-month layoff because of knee trouble, he is 38-2, reaching the finals at all eight tournaments he has entered and winning six.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams advanced to the fourth round by beating Sorana Cirstea 6-0, 6-2, while defending champion Maria Sharapova moved into the third round by finishing off a rain-interrupted 6-2, 6-4 victory over 19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard.
The match was suspended on Thursday night with Sharapova up a break in the second set at 4-2 and she was relieved to finish in 15 minutes.
“It was such a long day yesterday and obviously it’s always difficult to have to come back,” Sharapova said.
Williams swung hard, as always, but committed only 16 unforced errors against Cirstea and extended her career-best winning streak to 27 matches.
“I play very aggressive,” Williams said. “That’s important for me, because I want to keep on winning here.”
No. 12 seed Maria Kirilenko defeated wild-card Ashleigh Barty 6-3, 6-1, while 13th seed Marion Bartoli of France delighted a partisan crowd by beating qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino 7-6 (7/5), 7-5.
In other men’s play, No. 12 Tommy Haas became the first 35-year-old since 2007 to reach the third round, beating 20-year-old American qualifier Jack Sock 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, 7-5.
Haas next plays 19th seed John Isner, who overcame a two-set deficit for the first time in his career to win an all-American match against Ryan Harrison 5-7, 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 6-1, 8-6.
Fourth seed David Ferrer reached the fourth round by beating fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 7-5, 6-4, while seventh seed Richard Gasquet of France swept qualifier Michal Przysiezny 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.