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29 May 2009

Let’s cry for Dokic: French Open R2 wrap up

Three screaming performances, tears from Aussie Jelena Dokic and unsportsman-like behaviours of Marion Bartoli from the women’s draw highlighted a predictable second round at the 2009 French open.

Decibel rising
First shout out to Maria Sharapova who registered her first big win since her comeback as she screams past 11th seed fellow Russian Nadia Petrova with a 6-2, 1-6, 8-6 nail-biting match which lasted 2 hours 12 minutes.

"It was a great match where I had to fight really hard and that's what I did. I'm glad I picked myself up and I could win." the former world number one said after the gruesome match that saw her battling from a break down in the deciding third set.

Unheralded Portuguese teenager Michelle Larcher de Brito certainly made herself heard at her Grand Slam debut. The 16 year old, like Sharapova, is a graduate of the famed Nick Bolletieri academy in Florida.

Can I have an easy match at this year's French Open?
De Brito used her flowing all-court game and deafening decibel level to register a 6-4, 6-3 win over China's hopeful, 15th seed Zheng Jie. The young starlet will now go on to face France's Aravane Rezai.

The last loud performance comes from veteran Venus Williams, as the third seed thrilled the French crowd with a stunning backhand winner as she was down match point against left-handed Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova in the third set.

Known for her offensive game, Venus called on her rich experience to change her game into a defensive one. Williams raised her volume and game to pocket another exciting 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-5 three set victory.

Sister Serena buried her horrid first round match to hammer a 6-0, 6-2 win over Virgina Ruano Pascual. Just as impressive was world number 1 Dinara Safina’s 6-1, 6-1 romp over 18-year-old qualifier Diatchenko in just 55 minutes.

Heartbreaking to see Dokic fall out of Paris this way
Sadly, troubled Aussie comeback queen Jelena Dokic had to retire with a back injury while leading world number four Elena Dememtieva 6-2, 3-4. Her tearful end to her first French Open since 2004 was simply heartbreaking.

"It's very painful and very disappointing because I felt as if I had the match in my hands."
Top men progressed as Djokovic is held back
Second seed Roger Federer claimed a 7-6 (10/8), 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 win over Argentina's Jose Acasuso, who wasted four set points in the first set and another in the third where he led 5-1.

Acasuso, who has only progressed beyond the second round of a Grand Slam once in 28 attempts, cut a weary figure by the end, worn down as much by his own physical shortcomings as Federer's pinpoint hitting.

The top contenders for the men’s trophy, Rafael Nadal powered through in straight sets 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 for a record 30th consecutive victory on the Parisan red clay.

His nearest pursuers did not have easy second rounds though. Andy Murray struggled to overcome stubborn Potito Starace for a 6-3 2-6 7-5 6-4 win to reach the third round of the French Open at Roland Garros. While fourth seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic was two sets ahead of Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky when his second round match was suspended for bad light.

Sore loser: Marion Bartoli
Lastly, a case of bad sportsmanship came from former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli. The unhappy 13th seed is a second round casualty losing 6-3, 7-5 to experienced Italian Tathiana Garbin.

The French player blamed her defeat on a host of problems, from illness to the chilly conditions to the noise made by a small contingent of Italian fans.

Marion Bartoli turns sore-loser at the 2009 French Open
"I was a little tired and a little sick, I had a sore throat and my nose is running," said the Frenchwoman.

"It was very cold and the court was heavy. The ball was stuck on the strings and it was very slow."

Bartoli was unimpressed by the attitude of Garbin's supporters.

"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."

An unexpected remark since Marion Bartoli would have easily more French supporters at court Philippe Chartier where the match was held.

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