2012 Roland Garros champion Maria Sharapova surprised Nike tennis fans at the Eiffel Tower.
Maria Sharapova is already in the city of lights preparing for Roland Garros. Yesterday Sharapova visited the city's most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower, to surprise fans with her sponsor Nike.
The 2012 Roland Garros champion surprised a group of local women on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower with a Nike "We Own The Night" training session. Following the training session Sharapova conducted a Q&A with her French fans.
Maria Sharapova made the perfect start to her French Open challenge, sweeping aside qualifier Ksenia Pervak in straight sets.
For someone that once so openly loathed clay, Sharapova is now in possession of an enviable record on the surface. In fact, following her 2011 French Open semifinal defeat to Li Na, the Russian has won 46 of 50 matches, only tasting defeat to Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic in that time. Since losing to Sharapova in the first round in Paris four years ago, Pervak's progress has been hampered by a string of injuries, which have seen her slip down the rankings and spend much of 2014 confined to the ITF Circuit.
"It's always nice to get out there on a day like this," Sharapova said in her post-match press conference. "It's good to play first match, as you know. Hopefully you'll be able to finish the match today with the weather conditions being as they are. It's always nice to get through. "The first matches at Grand Slams are always tough, no matter how prepared you are, no matter how many matches you've played. There is always a bit more tension in that type of Grand Slam atmosphere. It's certainly more special, especially when you walk out on court. Considering all that, I thought I played a solid match, did the things I had to do."
By the time Caroline Garcia was shaking hands with Ana Ivanovic after their match, tears were already in the Frenchwoman's eyes. A few seconds later, holding a towel over her face, she was hurtling down the tunnel toward the locker room. After her 6-1, 6-3 defeat, Garcia couldn’t get off the court, and away from the home fans, fast enough.
Garcia had been tapped, here and other places, as one of the women to watch at the French Open. This spring, with her Fed Cup heroics against the United States, the 20-year-old seemed to be making good on the promise she had shown at 17, when she nearly beat Maria Sharapova in Paris. On her best days, Garcia has an instinctive all-around game. But whether it was the setting or the expectations, this was, to put it mildly, not one of Garcia’s best days. After three games, she was down 0-3 to Ivanovic and had already made 10 of the 34 unforced errors—against just eight winners—that she would commit on the afternoon. From start to finish, it was one long shank for Garcia.
No. 2 Li Na lost to France’s Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday, quickly ending her bid to become the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the Australian Open and Roland Garros in the same year.
The slumping Kristina Mladenovic got a big victory on home soil on Tuesday.
“The problem is myself,” Li said. “I don’t think I’m doing well on the court. And also, even during the match, I don’t think totally [about] what I should do, like especially I didn’t follow the game plan. … In my mind, I didn’t have any idea how to play the match.”
It is not something Maria Sharapova would confess to publicly, but Serena Williams's early downfall at the French Open means the statuesque Russian can now skip around Paris with an extra spring in her step. While Williams' unexpected second-round exit has offered a spark of hope to the 50 women still left standing in Roland Garros, nowhere was that hope burning brighter than in the Sharapova camp on Wednesday.
"You always have to follow your path and always concentrate on your work and who's ahead of you and not get worried about what's going on," Sharapova said after she reached the third round with a 7‑5 6‑2 win over Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova. "Obviously when you go on court you're aware of a lot of the upsets, not just in the women but in the men, as well. "So it's great to get a win in that type of atmosphere."
Following the shock exit of defending champion Serena Williams earlier in the day and China’s second seed Li Na’s elimination 24 hours earlier, the Russian star is the leading favourite to take the 2014 title in Paris. However the Russian four-time grand slam winner, who won Roland Garros in 2012, will have to raise her game after an alarming 27 unforced errors. The 27-year-old improved her record on clay this year to 14 wins and one loss, after wins in Stuttgart and Madrid left her with 31 titles on the WTA circuit.
Tennis: 5th seed Petra Kvitova and 10th seed Sara Errani safely moved into the 3rd round of the 2014 French Open after registering straight sets victories in the second round. 2012 French Open semifinalist and 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova had faced Marina Erakovic three times in the past and had emerged victorious on all three occasions.
Petra was in no mood to end her winning streak against the New Zealand player, as she was too strong on her serve in the first set and did not face a single break point. A single break was enough to give her the first set 6-4. In the second set, both players exchanged multiple breaks of serve, as Erakovic broke the Czech twice, but Kvitova broke her three times to take the set 6-4 and move into the last 32.
For a place in the last 16, Kvitova will face 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. 2012 finalist Sara Errani needed only 1 hour and 34 minutes to brush aside Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.