(photo credit: Associated Press)
After spending much of the day waiting for the rain to stop, Shahar Pe’er came back from a set down to defeat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 to advance to the third round at Roland Garros in the dwindling Paris light.
With the rain falling for much of the day, the Israeli, seeded No. 18 at the French Open, had to wait until the evening to start her second-round match and got off to a cold start in the frosty weather.
Pe’er couldn’t find her range and looked worryingly frustrated after dropping the first set. However, the 23-year-old stormed back in the second set and booked her place in the last 32 after taking 12 of the final 13 games.
Next up for Pe’er is meeting against the winner of
the match between No. 13 seed Marion Bartoli and Olivia Sanchez, who was leading 5-4 in the first set when play was suspended by darkness.
After a short rain interval with the score tied at 40-40 in the first game, Pe’er claimed her first break of serve, only to drop it moments later.
Pe’er finally held serve in the fourth game, but would completely lose her way after that, relinquishing five games on the trot.
Mattek-Sands couldn’t miss, and with Pe’er not finding her range, it was the American who took the first set after the Israeli sent yet another backhand into the net.
It was a disconcerting first set for Pe’er, but it wouldn’t take her long to get going in the second set and once she found her rhythm she couldn’t be stopped.
Pe’er broke in the second game of the set and battered Mattek-Sands
into submission after that. The Israeli was hitting winners off both
her forehand and backhand, and with Mattek-Sands losing confidence,
Pe’er was never going to lose.
The true turning point came in the third game of the set. The American
was on her way to getting a break back, but Pe’er took five straight
points from 0-40 down and went on to clinch the set at love.
A love hold of serve in the third game of the third set capped a
nine-game run for the Israeli, and after she held her nerve in a tight
fifth game the win was secure.
Also Thursday, Ana Ivanovic hit another low in her slide since winning
the French Open two years ago, losing 6-3, 6-0 to 28th-seeded Alisa
Kleybanova of Russia in the second round.
The match lasted barely an hour – brief enough to be completed between
showers. Play was delayed for 41⁄2 hours at the start, and there were
two later interruptions. On the men’s side, No. 4 Andy Murray and No. 6
Andy Roddick advanced, but Fabio Fognini of Italy beat No. 13 Gael
Monfils of France 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 9-7.
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