On Sunday it was Ana Ivanovic and Serena Williams who took the first step toward a projected quarterfinal meeting and on Monday it was Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams who did the same, grinding past their first round opponents at Roland Garros. Patty Schnyder was also among Day 2's winners.
Third seed Jankovic was the first of the two Sony Ericsson WTA Tour superstars to advance, beating lucky loser Monica Niculescu, 76(3) 62. Jankovic looked as though she was headed for an easy victory as she built leads of 3-0 and 5-3 in the first set; Niculescu hung tough and took the set to a tie-break, but after the feisty Serb pulled it out she cruised to a straight set win in her opener.
"I had a good start but then she played some great shots," Jankovic said. "She hit some good drop shots. I got a bit confused because I didn't know how she'd play or what to expect. Then I started making some errors and lost my rhythm a little bit. Then after I won the first set I figured out what to do, and it all got better.
"It's not that she plays two hands on both sides, it's that she hits slice and high balls, drop shots, different kinds of shots. She's sort of like the Santoro in the women's game. It took time for me to get used to that."
Williams, seeded No.8 at the season's second Grand Slam, faced more resistance in her match and suffered something of a second set collapse but regrouped for a 63 46 62 win over another crafty opponent, Tzipora Obziler. Williams went up 63 41 before the Israeli veteran began sharpening up on her impressive defense, playing her way back into several points with impressive retrieval and drawing error after error from Williams. But the powerful American rebounded in a huge way after the second set loss and losing serve in the first game of the third.
"I think sometimes tennis isn't always won as quickly as you want," Williams commented. "She played some good tennis. She made some great shots and fought really hard for that second set, and it was just important to close it out in the third. I had seen her play before and knew she was going to get a lot of balls back, so I knew what to expect, and I was feeling good going into the match."
Other seeds winning first round matches on Tuesday were No.10 seed Patty Schnyder, No.12 seed Agnes Szavay and No.32 seed Karin Knapp. Szavay had the hardest win of the trio, rallying back from 3-0 down to beat Ayumi Morita, 61 46 64. No.23 seed Alona Bondarenko was the latest seed to be sent packing, falling to Petra Cetkovska quietly, 63 60.
Gisela Dulko, Timea Bacsinszky, Emilie Loit and qualifiers Jelena Pandzic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were also able to squeak out first round wins before the rain, which wiped out the rest of the day's scheduled matches.
(via Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, photo/Getty Images)