French Open Tennis: Sela sails into second round in Paris

Murray, defending champ Ivanovic also advance in opening matches at Roland Garros.

dudi sela artistic 248.88a (photo credit: )
dudi sela artistic 248.88a
(photo credit: )
Dudi Sela advanced to the second round of the French Open for the first time in his career on Sunday, defeating Jean-Rene Lisnard of Monaco 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Sela, currently ranked at a career-best No. 55 in the world, lost in the first round in his previous two appearances at Roland Garros, succumbing to Roger Federer in 2005 and to Romanian Victor Hanescu last year. The 24-year-old Israeli had also lost all three of his previous matches on clay this year, but got off to a good start against Lisnard (221) and after two hours and 52 minutes booked his place in the second round in Paris. Next up for Sela is one of the ATP Tour's rising stars, Croatian Marin Cilic. The 20-year-old is at a career-high No. 13 in the world rankings and, despite not being a clay-court expert, easily defeated Jan Hernych (73) 6-0, 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday in his opening match. "I haven't done very well here in the past and it is always fun to progress in a Grand Slam tournament, especially this one" Sela said. "I hope to play in my next match as I did in the first two sets today. I still have plenty to improve on clay, but Cilic also isn't such a big expert on this surface. It will be a tough match against an excellent player." In other first-round action on Sunday from Paris, apart from some jitters in his first service game, Andy Murray had little trouble in his opening match and beat Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. Murray, who has reached only one clay-court semifinal in his career, was broken in the first game of the match, but then dominated Chela with 55 winners and 10 aces. Also, defending champion Ana Ivanovic struggled on the important points in the opening match on center court before beating Sara Errani of Italy 7-6 (3), 6-3. The eighth-seeded Serb converted only five of the 20 break points she earned against her opponent. Errani broke three times and even served for the first set at 5-4. "I knew I had to work hard for my points today, and I'm very happy I did," Ivanovic said. "And I kept my composure." Murray looked rusty early, but he soon began to hit hard groundstrokes and move Chela around the court. While Murray only had four fewer unforced errors - 19 to Chela's 23 - the Briton had 41 more winners. In another first-round match, Ivo Karlovic set a tour-level record for aces with 55 in his 6-7 (1), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-3 loss to Lleyton Hewitt. The 26th-seeded Karlovic, who has lost in the first round in 14 of his 24 Grand Slam appearances, broke the previous record of 51, which he shared with Joachim Johansson. The old mark for aces in a French Open match was 37, held by Andy Roddick. Marat Safin, another of the eight former Grand Slam singles champions in the men's field, also advanced. The Russian beat Alexandre Sidorenko of France 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Seventh-seeded Gilles Simon, No. 8 Fernando Verdasco, No. 14 David Ferrer of Spain, No. 18 Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic and No. 31 Nicolas Almagro of Spain also advanced. Ivanovic, who beat Dinara Safina in last year's final, pulled out of this month's Madrid Open with a knee injury, and her right knee was taped Sunday at Roland Garros. She finished the match with seven double-faults and six aces, while the 44th-ranked Errani did a good job of moving the defending champion all over the court. The 21-year-old Ivanovic also reached the final at Roland Garros in 2007, and last year's Australian Open final. She was the world's top-ranked player for 12 weeks in 2008 but has dropped to No. 8. "I just have to keep my head down and work tough through the matches," Ivanovic said. No. 11 Nadia Petrova reached the second round by easily beating American Lauren Embree 6-1, 6-2. Also, 25th-seeded Li Na of China defeated Marta Domachowska of Poland 6-4, 6-2, 27th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia beat Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania 6-3, 6-2, and 32nd-seeded Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic advanced when Julia Goerges of Germany retired while trailing 7-5, 4-1. Kaia Kanepi was the only seeded player to lose in the women's draw. The 19th-seed fell to Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-2.