Serbs advance at windy conditions in Indian Wells

March 16th, 2008 - 2:13 pm ICT by admin  

Indian Wells (California), March 16 (DPA) Emerging tennis power nation Serbia flexed its muscle in wind-whipped conditions with the country’s three top players Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Novak Djokovic registering victories at the Indian Wells Masters here Friday night. Gusty conditions made life a misery on court - but not enough to prevent Ivanovic, Jankovic and Djokovic from making successful starts at the first Masters event of the season.

Ivanovic, the women’s top seed, set the pace with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 win over Romanian Ioana Olaru while third seed Jankovic needed just 58 minutes to crush American Ahsha Rolle 6-0, 6-2.

“The first rounds are always tough, and especially in the windy conditions, you have to be really focused and really try to move your feet,” said Jankovic.

“That’s what I did today, so I’m really glad with my performance, despite the conditions. I’m happy to get through.”

Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, seeded six, beat Russian Elena Vesnina 6-0, 6-4, while 12th seed Vera Zvonareva defeated Arvane Rezai of France 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

American Lindsay Davenport also advanced when Gisela Dulko quit with injury after losing the first set 6-2.

“All of a sudden, at 5-2, I could tell she was having a really hard time moving to her right or to the forehand. I wasn’t surprised that she stopped,” Davenport said.

Davenport is looking for her fifth title since returning to the game following the birth of her son last summer.

She said that when she visited here a year ago with pregnancy she thought that she might not be able to return to the sport again.

“I’m certainly happy I came out here and got it back in my blood, and realised what I was missing and what I could potentially return to.”

Meanwhile, in the men’s section, last year’s finalist Djokovic, seeded third, overcame Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) but had his troubles in closing out victory.

Djokovic missed on a first match point and then dropped serve before finally prevailing over Seppi.

“It was so windy that you couldn’t get the rhythm, so that probably caused a lot of unforced errors,” said the Australian Open champion. “It was a very ugly match to watch,” Djokovic said after the match.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal began his title defence with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Colombian Santiago Giraldo in the swirling wind.

The gusts laid waste to any precision play on court during the first weekend of the men’s and women’s event.

“It was a big wind for me today,” said Nadal. “In these conditions, you can’t do much.”

World number five David Ferrer also advanced to the third round beating Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-2, 6-2.

Tomas Berdych became the first men’s seed to exit from the tournament, losing to Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, while eight seed Richard Gasquet put out Swede Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-2.

Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-4 to join French compatriot Paul-Henri Mathieu.

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