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May 27, 2005

PARIS ( -- The young French girl Aravane Rezai used her wild card to good effect in the first round of the French Open, disposing of Camille Pin (2-6, 6-2, 6-2).

Of Iranian descent, 18-year-old Rezai never knows she is beaten and shrugged off 64 unforced errors to turn things around against compatriot Pin.

Currently 244 in the world, Rezai has won four ITF clay tournaments over the last eight months, but facing Maria Sharapova was a massive step up for her on the show court.

Still, French wildcard Rezai gave Second-seed Sharapova her fair share of problems but the Wimbledon champion eventually saw her talent prevail at Roland Garros.

Sharapova, who has not always been comfortable on clay, fell 3-1 down as the home player started like a train.

Sharapova later explained: "She had nothing to lose, and she was just going for her shots. Some balls were just too good. But I finally started feeling a good rhythm out there, began playing better."

Once that happened, Sharapova - who twisted her ankle during that early spell - hit back and reeled off six straight games to open up a 6-3 1-0 lead, with a break of serve.

Many would have expected the world number two to roll on to an easy victory from there, but Rezai was not finished yet and she broke back and fought on to 2-2.

At that stage, Sharapova moved up a gear again and finally sealed a 6-3 6-2 win in 67 minutes.

Sharapova made just 13 unforced errors on her way to a last-32 meeting with fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

Sent by Baback Khiavchi

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