Djokovic, Ivanovic, Nalbandian, Blake in French Open second round
PARIS, May 25, 2008 (AFP) - Serbian duo Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic, along with Argentina’s David Nalbandian and America’s James Blake have qualified for the second round in the French Open here on Sunday.
Third seed Djokovic, the Australian Open champion and Rome Masters winner, needed four sets to see off Germany's world number 64 Denis Gremelmayr 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.
Women's second seed Ivanovic, who crumbled to defeat in the 2007 final against Justine Henin, took a first nervous step towards erasing that heartbreaking memory by seeing off Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson 6-2, 7-5.
Djokovic will now face Spanish qualifier Miguel Angel Lopez Jaen for a place in the third round.
Gremelmayr, a semi-finalist on clay in Estoril and Barcelona, took the first set after racing into a 4-0 lead before the 21-year-old Serbian levelled the tie courtesy of a break in the eighth game of the second set.
Djokovic raced to a 5-1 lead in the third set but the 26-year-old German hit back to level at 5-5 before the Serb broke back in the 11th game and then served it out.
The world number three cruised to victory with breaks in the third and fifth games of the fourth set.
World number two Ivanovic became Serbia's first Grand Slam finalist here in 2007 beating Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova before she fell to pieces in the final against Henin, going down 6-1, 6-2.
Since then she has also finished runner-up to Sharapova at the Australian Open.
But it wasn't 20-year-old Ivanovic's most convincing display on Sunday.
After easing through the first set, she then had to save break points in the fifth, seventh and ninth games of the second before seeing off the 24-year-old Swede whom she had also defeated at the same stage here last year.
Ivanovic will now face the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova for a place in the third round.
However, another Czech was already packing her bags after 15th seed Nicole Vaidisova, a semi-finalist in 2006, slumped to a 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 defeat to compatriot, and best friend, Iveta Benesova.
Vaidisova's defeat was her sixth in a row this year leaving her without a win since the first round in Dubai three months ago.
Meanwhile, Argentinian sixth seed David Nalbandian, widely regarded as one of the few players capable of shattering triple champion Rafael Nadal's pursuit of a fourth successive title, saw off compatriot Carlos Berlocq 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.
Nalbandian, a semi-finalist in 2004 and 2006, holds a 2-0 career record over Nadal and could meet the Spaniard in the quarter-finals.
He next faces French wildcard Jeremy Chardy.
American seventh seed James Blake, who has never got beyond the third round, saw off German veteran Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) and will tackle either Simon Greul of Germany or Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.
Later Sunday, former triple champion Gustavo Kuerten, whose career has been devastated by a chronic hip injury, will play what will probably be his final ever match when he returns to his beloved Philippe Chatrier Court to take on French 18th seed Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Women's 2002 champion Serena Williams is also due on court to face fellow American Ashley Harkleroad
Ivanovic is top Serb as she reaches French Open final
PARIS: Second seed Ana Ivanovic won the battle of the Serbs in a thrilling French Open semi-final on Thursday and will play Russia's Dinara Safina for the title on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Ivanovic defeated 23-year-old Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the final at Roland Garros for the second straight year having lost to Justine Henin in last year's final.
She also reached the Australian Open final in January but lost to Maria Sharapova.
For third-seeded Jankovic it was the fourth time she had played in a Grand Slam semi-final and the fourth time she had failed to make it through.
The 13th seeded Safina had earlier defeated compatriot and fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 in the first of the semi-finals.
Jankovic, again wearing an arm brace to ward off the pain she has been feeling from tendonitis, opened the stronger and broke serve to 15 in the second game to take a 3-0 lead.
She threatened to make it 4-0, but Ivanovic held on visibly growing in confidence after winning the game at the end of a long, punishing rally.
She broke back in the following game only to drop her own serve in the next as Jankovic got to 4-2.
But the younger woman's heavier groundstrokes started to make the difference as she won the next four games to take the set 6-4 in 41 minutes.
Jankovic dropped her serve for the fourth straight time to open the second set allowing Ivanovic to jump out into a 2-0 lead.
In stark contrast to the first few games, Ivanovic was looking comfortable on her serve while it was a struggle each time for her opponent on hers.
But all that changed in the sixth game of the set when Ivanovic inexplicably let slip a 40-0 lead to allow Jankovic to draw level at 3-3.
She was broken again two games later and Jankovic served out to level the scores although she needed four set points to do so.
Ivanovic had nervily lost her way and against one of the grittiest players on the women's circuit that was a fatal mistake.
Jankovic won the first two games of the deciding set to make it seven games in a row, but Ivanovic stopped the rot and got back on level terms at 3-3 by breaking to love in the sixth game.
Another exchange of service breaks took it to 4-4 and two games later Ivanovic played her best game of the semi-final opening up with her groundstrokes to clinch the win.
There was the added bonus for Ivanovic in that her win coupled with the defeat of Kuznetsova means that she will take over from Maria Sharapova as world No.1 at the end of this tournament win or lose in the final.
She has played Safina three times and won twice, but the Russian won the only time they have played on clay in Berlin three years ago.
Queen of surprises Safina in French Open final
PARIS: Russia's Dinara Safina moved one victory away from joining big brother Marat as a Grand Slam title winner when she reached the French Open final on Thursday.
The 13th seed saw off fourth-seeded compatriot, and overwhelming favourite, Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 and will face either Ana Ivanovic, the second seed, or third seed Jelena Jankovic, both of Serbia, in Saturday's final.
Marat Safin won the US Open and Australian Open before his career went into steep decline, while a 2002 semi-final appearance was his best performance at Roland Garros.
Few would begrudge his little sister from triumphing in what will be her first Grand Slam final after staging two carbon copy comebacks in the previous rounds.
The 22-year-old saw off fellow Russians, top seed Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva, despite being a set and 2-5 down. For good measure, she also saved
a match point in both ties.
Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open winner and runner-up here in 2006, admitted she had played one of her worst matches in the French capital.
Safina survived a lengthy test of her opening service game and then broke to lead 2-0.
In a first set, which featured five breaks in nine games, Safina was the cooler of the two Fed Cup teammates when the crucial moment arrived.
A Kuznetsova forehand error gave her a 5-3 lead and she set up set point with a sweet backhand drop shot while Kuznetsova was pinned at the back of the court.
Safina claimed the opener when the fourth seed steered another simple forehand wide.
It was the first set the 22-year-old Kuznetsova had dropped at Roland Garros this year.
The pair exchanged breaks again in the first two games of the second set before Safina nipped ahead to lead 3-2.
An out-of-sorts Kuznetsova picked up a code violation for launching a ball, baseball-style, into the upper tiers of the Court Philippe Chatrier as her frustration mounted.
Safina had proved her claycourt credentials in the run-up to Roland Garros by winning the prestigious Berlin tournament, claiming the scalps of former world number one Justine Henin and Serena Williams along the way.
That confidence-boosting performance helped her get through a nervy sixth game before she again broke a flailing Kuznetsova to lead 5-2.
She wrapped up the semi-final when Kuznetsova unleashed another forgettable forehand.
Nadal and Federer set-up French Open final repeat
PARIS: Triple champion Rafael Nadal demolished Novak Djokovic while Roger Federer struggled past Gael Monfils as the superpowers of men's tennis set up a third successive French Open final on Friday.
Second seed Nadal eased to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) win over world number three Djokovic in a match he described as 'perfect' to take his Roland Garros record to 27 wins in 27 matches.
The 22-year-old Spaniard is now just one victory away from equalling Bjorn Borg's feat as the only four-in-a-row winner of the men's title.
In stark contrast, Federer toiled for three hours to see off unseeded Frenchman Monfils 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 sending him into another Roland Garros title showdown against the man who has beaten him in the last three years.
Two of those defeats were in the 2006 and 2007 finals and were losses that prevented Federer, with 12 Grand Slam titles to his name, winning an elusive French Open.
Borg, who completed his four-in-a-row sequence from 1978-1981, and picked up six Roland Garros singles titles in all, was watching from the sidelines as Nadal cruised past Djokovic.
On Sunday, Federer will be going for his 13th career Grand Slam title, one short of the record of 14 held by Pete Sampras.
Monfils had surprised everyone by getting to the last four as the former world junior champion has struggled to make the step up to the senior ranks and only a few weeks ago was playing on the secondary challenger circuit in a bid to revive his flagging fortunes.
Despite his win, Federer was left with plenty to work on with coach Jose Higueras, the man who took Micahel Chang and Jim Courier to wins here.
His usually fluid forehand accuracy let him down constantly against Monfils, a weakness that the rampant Nadal, who hasn't dropped a set on his way to the final for the second successive year, will be eager to exploi
Nadal wins fourth French Open
Rafael Nadal underlined his status as the undisputed king of the claycourt as he completely destroyed Roger Federer.
Nadal eased to his 28th unbeaten match at Roland Garros as he humbled the top-seeded Swiss 6-1 6-3 6-0 after one hour and 48 minutes on Philippe Chatrier Court.
fedrer shoro say he pressure mai tha.....
waat mar di fedrer ki tau ...........maza agya
koi baat nahi grass pe tu federer ne le hi lena hai badla
phir bhi yaar straight set maray hain ........6-1,6-3,6-0
bari baat hai