Williams sisters, Jankovic advance

Updated: May 28, 2009, 10:55 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PARIS -- Serena Williams had a much easier time in the second round of the French Open, cruising past Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain 6-2, 6-0.

The second-seeded Williams struggled in her opening match, needing three sets and nine match points to advance. But she didn't appear to have any weaknesses Thursday, breaking Ruano Pascual five times.

"Everything clicked for me today, finally," she said. "It was just a better match. I'm not nearly as upset as I was the other day."

The 10-time Grand Slam champion has won the last two major titles, at the U.S. Open and Australian Open. But she has only one trophy from Roland Garros, which she won in 2002.

She calls herself a fan of playing on clay.

"I grew up on the clay a lot. I'm totally fine on the clay. My results haven't been where I wanted them to be, but from, like, 9 to 14, I played nothing but clay-court tennis," Williams said. "I actually love it, and it's really one of my favorite surfaces, because I love to slide."

Big sister Venus Williams saved a match point before beating her Czech opponent, and Jelena Jankovic joined the seven-time Grand Slam champion in the third round by defeating a Slovak.

Venus began her match against Lucie Safarova on Wednesday, but play was suspended because of darkness after the third-seeded American lost the first set. She faced a match point while trailing 5-4 in the final set but managed to hold serve, break Safarova and hold again for the 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-5 win.

"Yesterday I think I did too many things wrong. She just was firing for every shot and making them," Venus said. "Obviously, with the delay, was a lot of things to think about beforehand, what I could do different, and just tried to be as aggressive as I could.

"The last two sets, you know, it was close. But these kind of matches are really rewarding, and she was playing well. But I felt like I deserved it," she said.

Jankovic had an easier time, moving a step closer to her third straight semifinal appearance at Roland Garros by beating Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-2.

"I think I'm coming back," said Jankovic, who started this season as the top-ranked player. "This is the most important thing for me, especially when you saw me playing a few months ago. It was really disastrous."

The fifth-seeded Jankovic won 15 of the first 17 points and broke her opponent in the final game of the first set. In the second, she recovered from an early break to win four straight games and closed out the match with her sixth break of service.

Jankovic lost in the semifinals at Roland Garros in each of the past two years. She made her first Grand Slam final at the 2008 U.S. Open.

"I'm trying to, little by little, play more aggressive and move into the net as much as I can and, you know, try to improve my serve," Jankovic said.

Elena Dementieva advanced to the third round when Jelena Dokic retired with a back injury while leading 6-2, 3-4.

"It will be hard to swallow this ... very disappointing, considering that I was up and I was playing well," said Dokic.

Dokic turned for a backhand during the fifth game of the second set, grimaced in pain and called time. She then reached toward the lower part of her back and gingerly walked toward her chair to call for a trainer.

She returned to the court and broke Dementieva to take a 3-2 lead but then cried into her towel during the changeover. After losing the next two games, Dokic stopped.

"I didn't deserve to win this match. It feels bad to win this way and it must be hard on her," Dementieva said.

The fourth-seeded Dementieva has reached at least the semifinals at every Grand Slam event. She lost in the finals of the 2004 French Open and U.S. Open.

Seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia also advanced, beating Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan 6-0, 6-2. No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and No. 24 Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada also won, but seeded French players Marion Bartoli and Alize Cornet lost.

The 13th-seeded Bartoli, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals last year, lost to Tathiana Garbin of Italy 6-3, 7-5, while No. 21 Cornet fell to Sorana Cristea of Romania 6-3, 6-2.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.