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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Azarenka's noisy start and Serena's power play

PHOTOS: Azarenka's noisy start and Serena's power play

Last updated on: May 30, 2013 00:30 IST

Azarenka turns up the volume in Paris

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A cacophony of noise on Chatrier Court signalled the belated appearance of women's third seed Victoria Azarenka at the French Open on Wednesday as the Belarussian eased into the second round with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Russia's Elena Vesnina.

The stadium was barely one-third full as Azarenka went through her paces but the low decibel level from the crowd on another chilly day in Paris was countered by the grunts, howls and groans coming from the two players.

Azarenka just about won the noise battle, although Vesnina ran her close, and she had little trouble winning the match either.

Making her eighth main-draw appearance at the French Open despite being only 23, Azarenka had to wait until the fourth day to begin her challenge after rain on Tuesday meant her first-round match was postponed.

She now faces the prospect of seven matches in 11 days if she is to win the title here.

The twice Australian Open champion has never shone in Paris, with her best performance being the quarter-finals in 2009 and 2011.

"It was great to start and there were some tough points, especially for a first-round match," Azarenka, who was briefly troubled in the second set, said on court before declaring her love for Paris.

She will face Germany's Annika Beck in the second round.


Image: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates a point in her match against Elena Vesnina of Russia
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Agnieszka beat American Mallory Burdette

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Polish hopes of a third-round meeting between the Radwanska sisters vanished after the fourth-seeded Agnieszka beat American Mallory Burdette 6-3, 6-2 but Urszula went out 6-3, 6-3 to German Dinah Pfizenmaier.

After beating Urszula at the French Open tennis on Wednesday, Pfizenmaier is likely to find her third-round opponent is extremely motivated.

Pfizenmaier, ranked 127 in the world, has already improved upon her best grand-slam result by upsetting the younger Radwanska and hopes there is a family resemblance when it comes to her sibling's game.

"Maybe she plays like her sister," she said after beating the 40th-ranked Urszula. "Yeah, let's try to do the same or do it better and have fun. That's the most important thing for me." 


Image: Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland waves to the crowd after victory
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Tsonga leads French parade

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Fourteen French players were in singles action on another chilly day in the capital with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the sixth seed, leading the charge with a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-3 victory against Finland's Jarkko Nieminen to reach the third round.

Tsonga is regarded as France's best hope of a first men's grand-slam champion since 1983 when Yannick Noah captured the hearts of the public at Roland Garros by beating Mats Wilander.

He took a while to loosen up against the steady Nieminen who got the first break of serve and had to save a set point before overpowering his opponent with some impressive tennis.

The 28-year-old Tsonga, the last Frenchman to reach a major final in Australia in 2008, said he was happy to be carrying the flag for the sizeable home contingent.

"It's positive pressure because I have everything to win and I would say nothing to lose," Tsonga told reporters.

"If I go far in this tournament or if I win, it's going to be something huge."


Image: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France celebrates victory
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Kvitova also advanced

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Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova also advanced into the second round after fighting off local wild card Aravane Rezai's bold challenge in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory on Court Suzanne Lenglen.



Image: Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic plays a forehand in her match against Aravane Rezai of France
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Ferrer was impressive against Montanes

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Spain's David Ferrer, the men's fourth seed, impressed in a 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 demolition of compatriot Albert Montanes on an outside court to book his place in the third round.

Croatian 10th seed Marin Cilic ended Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios's run with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win.



Image: David Ferrer of Spain in action
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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