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French Open Day Five Images

May 29, 2009 12:22 IST

Dokic retires, Dementieva advances



Jelena Dokic left the court in floods of tears on Thursday after retiring with a back injury while leading by a set in her French Open second round match against Russian fourth seed Elena Dementieva.

"It's a shock and a disappointment," the Australian former world number four told a news conference after quitting with the score at 6-2, 3-4 against.

"I felt like I had the match in my hands and I was doing well and even if I didn't win, I was playing really well ... I felt like I probably played the best tennis that I played this year."

Dokic, appearing at her first French Open since 2004, appeared to pull something in her lower back at 2-2 in the second set and went off court to receive treatment from the tournament trainer.

She returned to break Dementieva despite crying between points.

"I just went down and couldn't come back up. I don't know what it is yet. It was very painful, and I just hope it's not too serious," said Dokic, who sobbed uncontrollably into her towel after retiring while Dementieva came over to comfort her.

Dokic, who rolled her ankle in her last-16 match at the Australian Open, said she was not having much luck at the grand slams on her comeback trail after a troubled few years.

"Obviously it's not my time at the grand slams," said Dokic. "I'm not 15 anymore, so it's time probably to take more care now and I just really, really hope it's nothing serious.

"I was supposed to play doubles tomorrow. I don't think that will happen."

Dementieva was full of sympathy for her opponent.

"It feels bad to win this way and it must be hard on her. She was very solid it's bad luck for her," the Russian, who next faces Dokic's compatriot Samantha Stosur, told reporters.

"I didn't deserve to win this match."

Image: Jelena Dokic and Elena Dementieva
Photographs: Reuters

No sun but lots of fun as Federer advances

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Playing on his least favourite surface, in his nightmare conditions and on the brink of going two-sets-to-one down, Roger Federer concluded his bumpy victory in the French Open second round on Thursday had been "fun".

The Swiss world number two saved a set point at 5-2 in the third set on his way to a 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-2 victory over Argentine Jose Acasuso.

"It was sort of a fun match to be part of with so many ups and downs," Federer told a news conference.

"I'm not part of such close matches that often. So when they happen, it's great to put in the fight when you can. Definitely it was a sign of mental strength and the physical abilities I have."

A fan of hot weather that speeds up the clay, the Swiss did not relish the cool and damp conditions on Philippe Chatrier court which played into the hands of claycourt specialist Acasuso who has won three titles on the surface.

"I think conditions made it definitely hard today for the players. It was slow, so you had to really be very patient and that might have played in his favour," said Federer.

"Conditions were very slow, extremely slow. It was even raining in the beginning. So of course that takes away game plans because you can't just attack the net blindly and try to bluff your way through a match like this."

The Swiss seemed uncomfortable in a protracted first set, with the 13-times grand slam winner having to save five break points in the fourth game after Acasuso dealt deftly with two Federer smashes that would normally have been winners.

The pair traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games before it eventually went to a tiebreak where Federer saved four set points before pulling back to snatch the set for himself with a tidy dropshot.

Acasuso, who knocked out second seed Andy Roddick at Roland Garros in 2005, gave the Swiss a few lessons in how to play on his least favourite surface in the second.

Sliding around with ease, the 26-year-old Argentine hit some excellent passing shots while Federer's unforced errors continued to mount.

The second seed was 5-1 down in the third set before winning five games in a row to force a tiebreak which he bagged with a sizzling serve that his 45th-ranked opponent could not control.

After seeing his chance of a big upset evaporate in the third set, Acasuso went out with a whimper in the fourth when he messed up a service return.

"I'm angry. Because even though it was Federer, it was a near miss," the 26-year-old Argentine said.

"I was so close to winning this match but what's positive is that I played really well. I could have won three sets but then he played really well."

Federer meets France's Paul-Henri Mathieu in the next round.

Image: Roger Federer
Photographs: Reuters
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Venus avoids Paris nightmare

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Venus Williams used a good night's sleep to spare herself from a French Open nightmare in the second round on Thursday.

The third seed's second-round tussle was suspended on Wednesday due to bad light after she had lost the first set. She returned to save a match point before crawling over the finishing line with a 6-7, 6-2, 7-5 win over Czech Lucie Safarova (in the picture).

"I was very angry. I really wanted that tiebreaker. She just came up with shot after shot, on the line, deep, hard, you know the best shots she could hit," said Williams. "I was pretty upset. But I wound down ... (and today) I felt very good."

Her sister Serena, who had rated her display in the previous round as "junior tennis" enjoyed an easier outing on Thursday with a 6-2 6-0 destruction of Spaniard Virginia Ruano Pascual.

Two days after Serena needed nine match points to huff and puff into round two, Venus saved one against Safarova.

Safarova, no stranger to upsets having beaten then holder Amelie Mauresmo at the 2007 Australian Open, looked to have one foot in the next round on match point at 5-4 in the third.

But the American threw everything in her arsenal on the next point and stayed alive with a thumping forehand winner.

Two games later, the seven-times grand slam champion streaked ahead to serve out the match to love.

Image: Lucie Safarova
Photographs: Reuters
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Roddick equals best Paris showing

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Andy Roddick was not about to start shouting from the rooftops after the sixth seed reached the third round of the French Open for the first time since his debut appearance in 2001.

"I'm not going to sit here and jump up on a soap box like I'm really good on this stuff (clay) now because I won two matches," the American told reporters on Thursday after outgunning the Czech Republic's Ivo Minar 6-2, 6-2, 7-6.

"I think that's what you need to guard against. Today I felt pretty good, and I felt pretty in control of what I was doing.

"I have improved physically from the past times I've been here, and I think that lends itself to having some more options out there."

He matched his best effort in Paris by firing 15 aces past his clueless opponent, who has now failed to beat the American in all four of their meetings.

Minar saved the first match point by threading a backhand winner past Roddick but could only shovel a crosscourt forehand wide on the next attempt, allowing the 26-year-old to celebrate a morale-boosting victory.

But since it took him eight years to finally win back-to-back matches at the claycourt major, Roddick was not about start deluding himself about his chances of lifting the Musketeers' Cup on June 7.

"If you're asking me if I've come here thinking I can win this tournament, the honest answer would be no," said Roddick, the last American man to win a grand slam at the U.S. Open in 2003.

"Do I feel like I can make a run and then see where that takes me? Yes. I think it would be extremely presumptuous of me with my record here to come in and say I think I'm going to win this tournament.

"Right now I'm going to go match by match, and I think I have a shot to win my next match. We'll go from there."

However, things are likely to get trickier in the next round for Roddick as he will have to douse the support of a partisan crowd when he comes up against local favourite Marc Gicquel.

Image: Andy Roddick
Photographs: Reuters
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Easy victory for Jankovic

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Fifth seed Jelena Jankovic snuffed out the challenge of Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-2 and Russian seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova was at her ruthless best in a 49-minute 6-0, 6-2 demolition of Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva.

With little to analyse in yet another easy victory, Jankovic passed on something new she had learnt from Serbia's President Boris Tadic when he made a flying visit to Roland Garros.

"He gave us some tips yesterday. Did you know if you eat fruit after the meal you get fat? If you eat it late in the afternoon or in the evening, it turns into fat. That's sugar," Jankovic told a bunch of amused reporters.

While Jankovic has sliced through the draw, the Williams sisters have given the fans value for money.

After shedding seven kilos to regain her slimline figure, Jelena Jankovic has opted to add weight to her expectations.

"I think I'm coming back. This is the most important thing for me, especially when you saw me playing a few months ago," the fifth-seeded Serb told reporters.

Former world number one Jankovic arrived in Paris with no specific goals following an under-par start to her season.

"It was really disastrous. I was moving terrible. I was making so many errors. My game was completely off, as well as my confidence," added the 24-year-old Serb, who will face Australian Jarmila Groth for a place in the fourth round at Roland Garros.

Image: Jelena JJankovic
Photographs: Reuters
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