The most interesting match-up of the day lived up to the expectations with Maria Sharapova defeating No.11 seed Nadia Petrova 6-2 1-6 8-6 in the second round of the 2009 French Open. World No.1 and top seed Dinara Safina eased into the third round with a 6-1 6-1 victory over fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko, ranked 151st.
I had given Petrova a slight edge over Sharapova, having in mind Sharapova’s lack of match play (she returned to tennis only last week, after a nine-month long layoff). But as I said, just a slight edge, because of Sharapova’s fighting spirit which will always remain part of her.
The world No.102 Sharapova took the opening set 6-2, before Nadia Petrova, two-time semifinalist at Roland Garros, won the second 6-1. The third set lasted 71 minutes and I believe it’s a testimony that Sharapova is definitely back: she’s able to come from behind, play long matches, and is in full possession of her championship spirit.
Next for the three-time Grand Slam winner is Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.
Safina, by far the most dominant player of the claycourt season, has lost only two games in her first two matches at this year’s Roland Garros, and spent less than two hours on court.
Safina, who is now on a 17-match winning streak, will face another Russian in the third round, 27th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who beat France’s Julie Coin 6-2 7-6(2). (photo: Stephane Martinache)