May 28th, 2009 13:51 EST
Venus Williams Slides Into 3rd Round Joining Former Number One Jankovic
Venus Williams, the third seed from the United States, lagged in the first set but eventually pulled off a vital match point in the third set, winning against Czech Republic`s Lucie Safarova 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-5 in the second round of the French Open on Thursday.
The elder of the Williams` sisters has had mixed results at Roland Garros. In 2002, she finished the tournament runner-up to her sister, Venus, the current world number two. But the last two years have seen the five-time Wimbledon champion falling out of the open in the third round.
Williams was down one set to none when the match started late Wednesday evening, but conditions on the court got severe enough to postpone the match. In the interim lapse between the first set and the final two sets, Williams` gathered her reserves and held on to take the match from the 46th seed on the tour.
Safarova was leading 5-4 in the clincher when she couldn`t convert a match point on her serve which Williams broke en route to winning two more games and a place in the final 32. Williams` will play 31st seed Agnes Szavay from Hungary in the third round as both women vie for a spot in the championship`s top 16.
Meanwhile, Marion Bartoli, Venus` rival in the 2007 Wimbledon finals, dropped both of the first sets in her second round match against to the seasoned Italian Tathiana Garbin 6-3, 7-5.
The 24-year-old Frenchwoman said her poor play was blamed on a slew of issues, including a mild illness she has not gotten over and the ruckus made by the ferevnt Italian fans in the stands.
"I was a little tired and a little sick, I had sore throat and my nose is running," Bartoli said. "It was very cold and the court was heavy. The ball was stuck on the strings and it was very slow."
On the matter of the Italians` support for their homeland`s athlete, Bartoli said she wasn`t happy with their behavior.
"It`s her clan. When I made unforced errors, her team would shout. It`s not sporting. They`re Italians. This is what it`s like."
A Wimbledon semifinalist the last two years running, Serbian Jelena Jankovic advanced further in another quest for the French Open championship when she defeated Slovakia`s 52nd ranked Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-2.
Janovic now looks forward to a third round match pitting her against Jarmila Groth, a Slovakian who now competes for Australia.
Regarding her ascent to the number one ranked women`s player last year, Jankovic cited her recent weight loss regiment as a deciding component to her success on the sport`s world stage. She won the Marbella claycourt title leading up to the Roland Garros tournament.
"I`m back to my normal weight," Jankovic said. "Maybe I had seven kilos more than I have now, which is a lot for me. When you put that kind of weight on, and you are not used to it, it`s tough to move around."
Also on Thursday in Paris, Svetlana Kuznetsova, the seventh seed from Russia, cruised past her opponent Galina Vosoboeva 6-0, 6-2 toward a placing on the top 32. World number 10 Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark, bruised up American mainstay Jill Craybas with a 6-1, 6-4 routing.