PARIS, June 1: Elina Svitolina, this year�s best singles player, survived a second-round scare at Roland Garros on Thursday, losing her way in the first set against Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova before serving up a rollercoaster 3-6 6-3 6-2 win.
The Ukrainian, number six in the world but leading the race rankings of results accumulated during 2017, struggled early on as her heavy groundstrokes fell short or wide.
Pironkova took advantage, reeling off four games in a row to take the first set.
In a match littered with 54 unforced errors that the players shared almost equally, fifth seed Svitolina then started to find her range and struck back.
She took the second set when her 77th-ranked opponent drove a halfcourt backhand into the net, and did enough to stay on top in the third.
Ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska lived up to her nickname as the �Professor� when she dug deep into her toolbox of tactics to repel tenacious qualifier Alison Van Uytvanck 6-7(3) 6-2 6-3.
The World No. 10 was taken by surprise in the first set when the aggressive Belgian, ranked 103 spots below her, went 3-1 up and squandered four break points to go 4-1 up.
Despite fighting back, Radwanska could not handle her opponent�s big kicking serve and stream of dropshots and Van Uytvanck bagged the tiebreak with a smash.
Radwanska, whose best grand slam performance was reaching the 2012 Wimbledon final, changed tactics and decided to mix it up as well, rushing to the net more often and attacking the Belgian�s high-bouncing serve early to race through the second set 6-2.
The 23-year-old Van Uytvanck, who underwent wrist surgery in December and has made only one WTA main draw appearance this year prior to Roland Garros, was broken in the third game and the Pole never looked back, winning the match when her opponent dumped a backhand into the net after two hours and 23 minutes.
In the men�s category, Kei Nishikori survived an injury scare and Jeremy Chardy�s late revival to advance into the third round of the French Open with a 6-3, 6-0, 7-6(5) victory. The Japanese eighth seed had to call on the trainer to have his chest massaged early in the third set. Despite that setback, he dug in to ensure he did not have to stay on court longer than necessary, wrapping up the win with a backhand winner.
He will next take on South Korea�s Chung Hyeon.
Chardy won the first game on Nishikori�s serve but Nishikori immediately broke back and quickly found his stride.
The Japanese, who reached the Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2015, bagged 12 consecutive games as he went from 3-3 in the first set to 3-0 in the third, when he had to take the injury time out.
He lost momentum upon resumption as Chardy broke twice to force a tiebreak.
However, once in the tiebreak Nishikori kept his wits and converted his first match point.
In another match, Nicolas Almagro burst into tears as he was forced to retire from his second-round match against Argentine 29th seed Juan Martin del Potro.
The match was tied at one-set all and 1-1 in the third when the Spaniard quit with an apparent leg injury.
He broke down after returning to his bench and was comforted by Del Potro, whose own career has been plagued by injuries.
The Argentine will next face either world number one Andy Murray or Martin Klizan. � Agencies