Former champ Ivanovic reaches fourth round at French Open
PARIS — After struggling in her first two matches at the French Open, Ana Ivanovic eased past Donna Vekic 6-0, 6-3 Friday to book a spot in the second week at the clay-court Grand Slam.
On a cold day in the French capital, it took the former champion just 53 minutes to return to a fourth round at a major tournament for the first time in more than a year.
Ivanovic, who won the French Open in 2008 after losing in the final a year before, wrapped up the first set in 23 minutes and finished with 19 winners.
"After the first two matches, I really started to get a little bit of feeling and groove," said the Serb, who was pushed to deciders in the first and second rounds after twice losing the opening set.
The last time Ivanovic made the fourth round of a major was at the Australian Open in 2014. She was eliminated by 142nd-ranked Lucie Hradecka in Melbourne earlier this year after playing with a broken toe.
Since winning the title seven years ago, Ivanovic has never progressed past the fourth round in Roland Garros. Her next opponent on the Parisian red clay will be No. 9 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who defeated Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4.
"The first two matches I really felt like I had kind of a slow start," Ivanovic said. "This is something I really wanted to change today."
Playing on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Ivanovic was broken in the third game of the second set. She recovered quickly though, winning five of the next six games.
Also, local favorite Alize Cornet advanced to her maiden fourth-round match in 11 attempts at her home tournament with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 hard-fought win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who finished with 59 unforced errors after her all-risk approach backfired.
Cornet celebrated her victory as if she had won the tournament, falling onto her back, letting out a scream and then bursting into tears.
"At last, I’m into the second week at Roland," Cornet said. "I’ve been waiting for this for 11 years."
In the men’s event, 20th-seeded Richard Gasquet needed 32 minutes to complete a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over Carlos Berlocq and advance to the third round after a battle that spanned over two days. The players were locked at two sets apiece when their match was stopped Thursday evening.
"My preparation will be shortened, but everything’s fine for me, I’m physically well," said Gasquet, who will face 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson in his next match and has just one day to recover.
Also, 74th-ranked Teymuraz Gabashvili equaled his best Grand Slam result, reaching the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Lukas Rosol.