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Safina, Jankovic win opening matches in Rome

Safina, Jankovic win opening matches in Rome

Top-ranked Dinara Safina overcame a shaky start Tuesday to defeat Virginie Razzano of France 7-6 (1), 6-1 and reach the third round of the Italian open.
Defending champion Jelena Jankovic also advanced with a 6-3, 7-6 (6) win over Argentina's Gisela Dulko in a match suspended for about 3 1/2 hours due to rain.
Safina lost her serve in the opening game and allowed her 35th-ranked opponent to take the initiative for most of the first set.
But the 23-year-old Safina dominated the tiebreaker and then kept the momentum with an early break in the second set before winning the last four games. She closed out the match in 1 hour, 50 minutes.
Safina, a runner-up here in 2006, is looking for her first title since ascending to the top of the world ranking on April 20.
Jankovic has won the Italian Open for the past two years, but the 24-year-old Serb was far from her best against the 39th-ranked Dulko.
Jankovic won early breaks in both sets but let her opponent break back both times. She saved four set points when down 5-4 in the second, before rain forced the suspension at 5-5.
After play resumed, the third-seeded Jankovic squandered four match points in the tiebreaker before converting her fifth.
"I had everything under control, and all of a sudden, she's on top of me and she has set points to win the second set," Jankovic said. "It was difficult, but I managed to somehow stay positive and stay strong and win that second set."
The top eight seeds all had first-round byes in this warmup for the French Open, which begins May 24. Second-ranked Serena Williams and defending French Open champion Ana Ivanovic played later Tuesday.
After finishing the 2008 season as No. 1, Jankovic went through a slump at the start of this year and has dropped to No. 4. She won her first title of the year in Marbella, Spain, last month, but was upset by Italy's Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals in Stuttgart, Germany, last week.


Updated : 2020-12-01 12:37 GMT+08:00