Big names Andy Murray of Britain and Spaniard Fernando Verdasco comfortably took their places in the second round of French Open. The world No. 3 Briton smashed Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 and Verdasco, eighth seed, thumped France's Florent Serra 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, smacking 15 aces and 50 winners to underline a strong performance.
Two former world number ones Safin, 29, and Hewitt, 28, notched up points for the old guns in contrasting styles with the Russian beating inexperienced Frenchman Sidorenko in straight sets and the Australian conquering big-serving Ivo Karlovic with a remarkable fightback.
On what is certainly not his favorite surface, giant Croatian Karlovic still managed to rip a record 55 aces in his loss. Hewitt, trailing two sets down, displayed characteristic courage and turned the tide to win 6-7 (1), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4 and 6-3.
"To play Karlovic on any surface is hard especially when his ace-count is up in the 50s," said 50th-ranked Hewitt, who underwent hip surgery in August last year.
"After losing the tiebreakers it's more of a mental battle. You have to hang in there and go the distance."
Home player Amelie Mauresmo, No. 16 seed, became the biggest upset of the day, crashing out after a 6-4, 6-3 defeat by Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany.
The 25th-seeded Li Na of China became the first player to reach the second round after a 6-4, 6-2 quick win over Poland's Marta Domachowska.
The 27-year-old, who missed the Australian Open and withdrew from this week's Strasbourg because of injury, needed just 72 minutes to make the second round where she will face Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky.
Five Russians moved into the next round including Nadia Petrova, who cruised through to a possible second round clash against compatriot Maria Sharapova.
The 11th seed beat Lauren Embree 6-1, 6-2. She clearly dominated the game as she hit 27 winners to her opponent's three.
Petrova was joined by fellow Russians 17-year-old Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 27th seed, and 18-year-old qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko.
(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2009)