Tennis bits: Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Garcia and Angelique Kerber survive WTA Charleston challenges

At the WTA Family Circle Cup on Tuesday, seeded players Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Garcia, Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic all overcame some resistance to reach the last 16.

Jelena Jankovic plays a shot to Tatjana Maria during her win in the second round at the WTA Charleston tournament on Tuesday. Mic Smith / AP / April 7, 2015
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Agence France-Presse

WTA Charleston

Seeds Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Garcia, Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic all overcame surprising challenges from much lower-ranked opponents on Tuesday to move on to the last 16 at the WTA Family Circle Cup.

Jankovic, the former world No 1 and current No 17, held off 95th-ranked Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-1. Rising French star Garcia, No 28 in the world, dropped the second set against world No 137 Sachia Vickery but ultimately went through 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Kerber, seeded fifth and ranked 16 in the world, went down in the first set to world No 90 Evgeniya Rodina but won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. In the final match of the night in South Carolina third-seeded, 11th-ranked Petkovic emerged after a 1-6 first set defeat to win the last two 6-1, 6-2 and advance over world No 104 Chanelle Scheepers.

The tournament continues on Wednesday with top-seeded Eugenie Bouchard facing Lauren Davis while second-seeded Ekaterina Makarova will play Zhang Shuai of China.

Young notables Sloane Stephens and Belinda Bencic both advanced on Tuesday, as well.

Other winners on Tuesday included qualifier Lucie Hradecka, who earlier beat 11-seed Zarina Diyas, American Madison Brengle, Sam Stosur, Sara Sorribes Tormo and Christina-Andreea Mitu.

ATP Houston

Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic made a triumphant return to the ATP Tour on Tuesday, saving two match points en route to winning over Guilherme Clezar in his first match in 17 months.

Tipsarevic, once ranked as high as eighth in the world, has been sidelined after multiple surgeries on his left foot.

But he showed no sign of any lingering effects of the injury as he defeated 186th-ranked Brazilian qualifier Clezar 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7) to reach the second round of the ATP US Clay Court Championships tournament in Houston.

“In my mind, I don’t feel like I was away for so long,” Tipsarevic said.

“I felt like this was a match I needed to win. I was ready, and I was fit. I had no confidence coming in, but saving match points with forehand winners down the line maybe proved otherwise.

“I really felt I had to win this match, and I would have been really sad otherwise.”

Tipsarevic laid down 18 aces and converted four of his seven break chances.

It was his first match since he retired against Marcel Granollers in the first round at Valencia in October 2013.

“I’m in pain everywhere, but the foot is good,” he laughed after wrapping up the victory in a tough 2hrs 38 mins.

Spain’s Feliciano Lopez is the top seed in the tournament.

After a first-round bye, Lopez will take on American Sam Groth in his second-round opener on Wednesday.

In other first-round matches on Tuesday, fifth-seeded Colombian Santiago Giraldo defeated Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil 6-2, 6-2.

Defending champion Fernando Verdasco of Spain, the sixth seed, defeated Paolo Lorenzi when the Italian retired injured while trailing 6-3, 4-3.

Seventh seventh-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy reached the second round, dispatching Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-4.

American Jack Sock also topped Joao Souza, Teymuraz Gabashvili beat Tim Smyczek, Hyeon Chung defeated Facundo Arguello and Steve Johnson dismissed Donald Young.

WTA Katowice

In Tuesday’s action at the WTA Katowice Open in Poland, top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska faced little trouble in a 6-1, 6-3 win over Yanina Wickmayer to reach the second round.

She was joined by seeds Kaia Kanepi, Kirsten Flipkens and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

On Monday second-seeded Alize Cornet and third-seeded Camila Giorgi had breezed into the second round. They face Polona Hercog and Magda Linette, respectively, on Wednesday.

Former world No 2 Vera Zvonareva will also be in action against Klara Koukalova after forcing the exit of six-seed Karin Knapp in the first round.

ATP Casablanca

Morocco’s 313th-ranked local hopeful Lamine Ouahab reached the last 16 of the ATP Grand Prix Hassan II on Tuesday in Casablanca.

The unfancied veteran toppled world No 88 Robin Haase of the Netherlands to get a shot at top seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

He was joined in the second round by Britain’s new No 2, the Slovenian-born Aljaz Bedene, who overcame Maximo Gonzalez after qualifying into the tournament proper.

Sixth-seeded Andreas Haider-Maurer advanced past Jan-Lennard Struff, but eighth-seeded Diego Schwartzman joined fifth-seeded Pablo Carreno-Busta as a first-round loser, going out to world No 241 Belgian Arthur De Greef.

Mikhail Youzhny beat Morocco’s other wild card entry, Yassine Idmbarek. Pablo Andujar, Damir Dzumhur, Nicolas Almagro and Daniel Gimeno-Traver all won their first-round matches, as well.

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