MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ana Ivanovic, hoping to rediscover the form that helped her reach two Grand Slam finals in 2008, started her Australian Open campaign Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-3 win over American Shenay Perry.
Ivanovic was runner-up at the 2008 Australian Open and won the French Open as she rose to No. 1 in the rankings.
But after slumping in 2009 and failing to win a title, the 22-year-old Serb’s opening match was put on one of the uncovered courts in overcast conditions.
Ivanovic, who has become a crowd favorite Down Under since she began dating Australian professional golfer Adam Scott, saved four break points in the final game before holding serve to take the match.
The rain that allowed only 26 of the scheduled 64 matches to be completed on the opening day had held off early on day two.
In other results, two seeded French players advanced and one went out.
No. 11 Marion Bartoli had a 6-4, 6-1 win over Rosanna de los Rios and No. 26 Aravane Rezai, who lost to Serena Williams in the Sydney International semifinals last week, beat India’s Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-2.
No. 18 Virginie Razzano lost 6-2, 6-3 to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova
Justine Henin made her comeback to Grand Slam tennis on Monday night with a 6-4, 6-3 win over fellow Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in her first match at a major since she lost to eventual champion Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Australian Open.
Henin quit in May 2008, while holding the No. 1 ranking, but was inspired to return to the tour when her compatriot Kim Clijsters won the U.S. Open in September — Clijsters’ third tournament back from two years out to get married and have a baby.
Henin has returned with a new, philosophical outlook on life.
The relentless intensity that characterized the diminutive Belgian as she won seven Grand Slam singles titles before retiring 20 months ago has given way to a more self-assured, open manner in her second coming to the game.
“I’m a little less superstitious about the past,” Henin said. “I’ve tested a different restaurant every day since I’ve arrived — that never happened in the past.
“I feel like I’ve evolved,” she added, laughing, “and there are things that don’t have a role in success or failure.”
Unranked and playing as a wild card entry, Henin will now play a second-round match against fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva, the Olympic champion.
A win over Dementieva could put her on course for a quarterfinal against Clijsters, who opened with a 6-0, 6-4 over Canadian qualifier Valerie Tetreault.
Sharapova played her first match here since winning the 2008 title on Monday, and recorded her earliest exit at a major in seven years when she lost 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4 to fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko.
Among the men who advanced on Monday were defending champion Rafael Nadal, U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, No. 5 Andy Murray and No. 7 Andy Roddick.
Roger Federer was to start his bid for a 16th major title on Tuesday against Igor Andreev. No. 3 Novak Djokovic, the 2008 Australian Open winner, had a night match.
Serena Williams will open her title defense against Urszula Radwanska, with her sister Venus against Lucie Safarova.
Serena Williams won three of the seven majors during Henin’s retirement, and returned to the year-end No. 1 ranking. Henin wants to get back to that level, and is enhancing her serve and net game to get there — with the main aim of winning a grass title at Wimbledon.
“I want to improve my game and get better than the past because I love challenges,” Henin said. “The good thing is that I don’t feel old yet. Even if when I came here I realized it was six years ago I won the Australian Open. It did hit me a little bit.”