PARIS, May 31: Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova�s comeback was cut short on Wednesday when she was dumped out of the French Open in a second round straight-sets defeat to doubles world number one Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while Venus Williams sealed her place in the third round with a victory against Japan�s Kurumi Nara.
The 15th seed, who had only returned this week after a five-month injury absence following a stabbing by a burglar last year, littered the court with errors to lose 7-6, 7-6.
The 32-year-old American, doubles winner in Paris in 2015, refused to buckle when Kvitova went 4-2 ahead. She whipped in a series of ferocious forehand winners while also frustrating the Czech, constantly forcing her to the net to win the first set with a tiebreak.
Kvitova, who had struggled with her returns despite the American getting less than half of her first serves in, pulled herself together and rallied back from 3-1 down to force another tiebreak.
The American, however, kept her cool and watched as Kvitova surrendered on match point with her ninth double fault.
Seeded 10th here, Venus forced her Japanese opponent into the red Parisian dust in a contest that at times almost veered into miss-match territory before ending 6-3, 6-1. Williams never appeared extended on the Philippe Chatrier court, but she nevertheless delivered a display of exquisite shot-making to a crowd denied a real contest.
Punching her black and lime-green racquet through the ball, Williams cleaned the lines with her groundstrokes, sending Nara scampering all around the arena.
The win makes her the oldest woman to reach the third round at the French Open since Billie-Jean King in 1982. Next up is either Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp or Belgian Elise Mertens.
In the men�s category, defending champion Novak Djokovic didn�t face much of a challenge from Portugal�s Joao Sousa as he went on to secure a convincing 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Djokovic teamed up with 1999 champion Agassi in a dream-team player-coach combination just before the start of the tournament.
The World No. 2 looked every bit a champion as he controlled his opponent throughout, with Agassi closely monitoring from courtside, a look of concern occasionally clouding his mien.
Young Austrian hope Dominic Thiem came through a testing workout against Simone Bolelli, dropping the first three games before overcoming the Italian qualifier 7-5, 6-1, 6-3.
Facing a player competing in his first tour-level event since undergoing knee surgery last June and languishing at 470 in the rankings, the sixth seed came off second-best in the early baseline exchanges.
Taking the ball early, Bolelli hurried Thiem into mistiming his trademark booming groundstrokes as the Austrian � an outside bet for title and the only player to have beaten Rafael Nadal on clay this year � sent a succession of crosscourt backhands wide. � Agencies