Tennis: Sharapova advances to 2nd round at French Open

AP, Monday 26 May 2014

Russia's Maria Sharapova serves to compatriot Russia's Ksenia Pervak during the first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Monday, May 26, 2014. (AP Photo)

Maria Sharapova took advantage of a break in the rain - and several breaks of her opponent's serve - to win her opening match at the French Open on Monday.

''It's always nice to get out there on a day like this. It's good to play first match, as you know,'' Sharapova said. ''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.''

Sharapova broke Pervak five times and finished with 17 winners, while Pervak had only four.

Sharapova, seeded seventh at the French Open, completed a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros two years ago. She then lost to Serena Williams in the 2013 final.

Up next in Paris will be Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria in the second round. But she could face Williams in the quarterfinals.

''It's tough to think about that match down the line where you have to compete in three matches before that,'' Sharapova said. ''Obviously it's a match that many people always look forward to when we play against each other.''

Monday's match started about 1 hour, 20 minutes late because of the wet weather. The forecast calls for more rain Monday, and for the rest of the week.

Shortly after Sharapova's match ended, and shortly after Novak Djokovic's match started, the rain returned and play was suspended.

Djokovic was leading Joao Sousa of Portugal 4-1 when play was halted.

Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia also advanced, beating Virginie Razzano of France 7-5, 6-0.

Other winners include No. 12 Flavia Pennetta of Italy and No. 16 Sabine Lisicki of Germany. Pennetta beat Patricia Mayr-Achleitner of Austria 6-2, 6-2, while 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Lisicki defeated Fiona Ferro of France 6-1, 7-5.

On the men's side, ninth-seeded Kei Nishikori was knocked out at the first step, losing to Martin Klizan of Slovakia 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-2.

Nishikori came into the tournament after winning his first clay-court title in Barcelona last month and then reaching the final in Madrid against Rafael Nadal where he had to retire with a back injury.

Nishikori, the highest-ranked Japanese man in history, is No. 10 in the world, one spot lower than his career high.

Later Monday, eight-time champion Nadal and Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka were scheduled to play - weather permitting.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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