Sharapova through at tear-stained French Open
Maria Sharapova eased into the Roland Garros second round on Tuesday,
but the Russian took second billing to grieving Virginie Razzano, who
honoured her fiance's dying wish to play the French Open.
Sharapova had little trouble disposing of Croatian veteran Mirjana
Lucic 6-3, 6-0, as the former world number one began her campaign to
clinch a first French Open title.
It took the seventh-seeded Russian just 56 minutes to seal victory as
her 29-year-old opponent, playing the tournament for the first time in
eight years, was overwhelmed, winning just four points in the second
However, Sharapova, the sport's biggest draw card, was not headline
She had been preceded on Court Philippe Chatrier by French
28-year-old Razzano, playing in honour of her fiance and coach Stephane
Vidal, who died from a brain tumour eight days ago.
"I am very emotional, I was here for Stephane," said Razzano, who was
defeated 6-3, 6-1 by Australian 24th seed Jarmila Gajdosova, whose own
life has been in turmoil following the collapse of her marriage.
"It was really hard to come on the court, there was a lot of emotion
and a lot of pain. That pain will always be there. I tried to make a
tribute to Stephane. It was mission impossible but I gave my all."
Razzano was wearing a black ribbon on her shirt as a mark of respect
for Vidal, a gesture which has been adopted by all the French players in
the women's draw in Paris.
Slovakian-born Gajdosova had married Australian tour player Sam Groth
in February 2009.
But since their split was announced three weeks ago, the 24-year-old
has reverted to her maiden name.
"It's only been three weeks, people talk and have their own opinions
and reactions," said Gajdosova, as she reflected on her marriage
"I am human after all and I can only try to cope as best I can. I
have good people around me and they have helped. Time will heal and I'll
Gajdosova embraced Razzano at the net after the match.
"I told her I was sorry for her loss and that she was incredible to
come on court. I told her to hold her head high and wished her the best
for the future," said the Australian.
"It's difficult to play someone who is hurting." Gajdosova next meets
Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues for a place in the last 32, while
Sharapova, whose best performace in Paris was a run to the semi-finals
in 2007, next tackles French wild card Caroline Garcia.
Even Lucic arrived at Roland Garros with a history of family strife.
As a 15-year-old, she was Australian Open doubles champion with
Martina Hingis in 1998 before making the Wimbledon singles semi-finals a