Ivo Karlovic sets a tour-level record for aces
Paris: Defending champion Ana Ivanovic struggled on the important points in her opening match at Roland Garros before beating Sara Errani of Italy 7-6(3), 6-3 on Sunday to reach the second round.
The eighth-seeded Serb converted only five of her 20 break points. Errani broke thrice and even served for the first set at 5-4.
“I knew I had to work hard for my points today, and I’m very happy I did that,” Ivanovic said. “And I kept my composure.”
Ivanovic, who beat Dinara Safina in last year’s final, pulled out of this month’s Madrid Open with a knee injury, and her right knee was taped as she took on Errani.
She finished the match with seven double-faults and six aces while the 44th-ranked Errani did a good job of moving the defending champion all over the court.
“Even though I had some time off during the Madrid tournament, I feel like it takes only few days to get back in shape,” Ivanovic said. “I feel very fit.”
Ivo Karlovic set a tour-level record for aces with 55 in his 6-7(1), 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-3 loss to Lleyton Hewitt.
The 26th-seeded Karlovic, who has lost in the first round in 14 of his 24 Grand Slam appearances, broke the previous record of 51, which he shared with Joachim Johansson.
The old mark for aces at a Roland Garros match was 37, held by Andy Roddick.
At Wimbledon in 2003, Hewitt had lost to Karlovic to become the first man in the Open era to lose in the first round as defending champion at the All England Club.
No. 13 Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-4, 6-3.
Marat Safin, another of the eight former Grand Slam singles champions in the men’s field, also advanced. The Russian beat Alexandre Sidorenko of France 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
“Every round is a tough one,” said Safin, who is planning to retire at the end of the season. “I’m trying but I’m really suffering on the court right now. But I’ll try to play better next match and I hope that I will get through.”
Both Ivanovic and Errani questioned calls on the red clay, but Ivanovic was on the winning side of a crucial challenge in the tiebreaker. At 1-1 with Errani serving, the Italian hit a ball wide that Ivanovic returned.
Errani then sent a winner to the other side of the court on her next shot and believed she had taken the lead, but Ivanovic called for the chair umpire, who checked the previous mark and overruled the call.
Errani stood at the net and complained, but the call stood and Ivanovic won the next two points on serve to take a 4-1 lead.
“I just have to keep my head down and work tough through the matches,” Ivanovic said about her chances this year. “There (are) no easy points.”
Li Na moves up
In other women’s matches, 25th-seeded Li Na of China defeated Marta Domachowska of Poland 6-4, 6-2, 27th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia beat Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania 6-3, 6-2 and 32nd-seeded Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic advanced when Julia Goerges of Germany retired while trailing 7-5, 4-1.
Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia saved eight match points before finally beating Mathilde Johansson of France 2-6, 6-2, 10-8.
“For each match point, I was very confident,” Johansson said. “I thought I would win it, and I missed the first one, and I was pretty nervous on the second, and it was more difficult for me to play.” — Agencies
Prefix denotes seeding
First round: Men: 8-Fernando Verdasco (Esp) bt Florent Serra (Fra) 6-2, 6-1, 6-4; Lleyton Hewitt bt 26-Ivo Karlovic (Cro) 6-7(1), 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-3; 31-Nicolas Almagro bt Agustin Calleri (Arg) 6-4, 6-1, 6-3; 20-Marat Safin (Rus) bt Alexandre Sidorenko (Fra) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; 13-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Jan Hernych (Cze) 6-0, 6-4, 6-3; Andrey Golubev (Kaz) bt Denis Gremelmayr (Ger) 6-3, 6-3, 6-2; Mathieu Montcourt (Fra) bt Lu Yen-Hsun (Tpe) 6-2, retd.; Dudi Sela (Isr) bt Jean-Rene Lisnard (Mon) 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3; Josselin Ouanna (Fra) bt Marcel Granollers (Esp) 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1; Philipp Petzschner (Ger) bt Peter Polansky (Can) 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3; 14-David Ferrer (Esp) bt Frederico Gil (Por) 6-2, 6-4, 6-4; 18-Radek Stepanek (Cze) bt Gaston Gaudio (Arg) 6-3, 6-4, 6-1; 3-Andy Murray (GBr) bt Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg) 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.
Women: 32-Iveta Benesova (Cze) bt Julia Gvrges (Ger) 7-5, 4-1 retired; 25-Li Na (Chn) bt Marta Domachowska (Pol) 6-4, 6-2; 27-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) bt Ioana Raluca Olaru (Rom) 6-3, 6-2; 8-Ana Ivanovic (Srb) bt Sara Errani (Ita) 7-6(3), 6-3; Timea Bacsinszky (Sui) bt Emilie Loit (Fra) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; Julie Coin (Fra) bt Nuria Llagostera (Esp) 7-5, 6-2; Vitalia Diatchenko (Rus) bt Mathilde Johansson (Fra) 2-6, 6-2, 10-8; Elena Vesnina (Rus) bt Severine Bremond (Fra) 6-3, 6-3; 11-Nadia Petrova (Rus) bt Lauren Embree (U.S.) 6-1, 6-2; Arantxa Rus (Ned) bt Olivia Sanchez (Fra) 6-1, 6-1; Yaroslava Shvedova (Kaz) bt 19-Kaia Kanepi (Est) 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-2.