AFP, PARIS - Third seed Jelena Jankovic reached the third round of the French Open on Thursday but her hopes of lifting a first Grand Slam title were hit by an injury to her right forearm and elbow.
The 23-year-old Serb defeated Croatian-born New Zealander Marina Erakovic 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), but she needed extensive treatment to relieve the pain halfway through the second set.
Jankovic, winner of the Italian Open in the buildup to Roland Garros and one of the favourites to succeed Justine Henin in Paris, blamed the heavy balls brought on by the cool, humid conditions.
She struggled after that and 20-year-old Erakovic had the chance to level the match when she served for the set at 6-5 only for Jankovic to dig deep and force the tie-break.
Erakovic moved out into a 5-3 lead but the battling Jankovic put her under pressure and won four straight points to reach a third round appointment with Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, who defeated Milagros Sequera of Venezuela 6-3, 6-0.
There were no such problems for Venus Williams who powered past Tunisian qualifier Selima Sfar 6-2, 6-4 to join sister Serena in the third round. They could potentially meet in the semi-finals.
Chinese hopes slumped with the defeat of Peng Shuai, who lost her second round tie 6-4, 6-3 to experienced Czech player Iveta Benesova.
Peng, the world number 64, was trying to make the last 32 for the first time in three visits but she was completely outplayed by Benesova who had to qualify and marked her determination by knocking out compatriot and 15th seed Nicole Vaidisova in the first round.
Zheng Jie, who made the fourth round on her Roland Garros debut in 2004, will try to keep Chinese interest in the singles alive when she faces Russia's 21st seed Maria Kirilenko later Thursday.
The two top seeds in the men's draw - Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - were both due to be in action later in the day in their second round ties although forecasts of approaching showers cast some doubts over the schedule.
Nadal, aiming to emulate Bjorn Borg as the only man to win four French Open titles in a row, was going up against French qualifier Nicolas Devilder.
Federer, out to complete his collection of Grand Slam titles, was taking on Spanish claycourter Albert Montanes.
Last up on the Court Suzanne Lenglen was women's top seed Maria Sharapova who came within two points of losing in the first round on Wednesday to Russian teen Evgeniya Rodina before scraping through in three sets.
The world No.1 was drawn against Bethanie Mattek of the United States who had won just two games in her previous 10 Grand Slam tournament appearances.