Comeback players advance to third round

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

When talk turns to comeback players on the WTA tour, it's usually about Maria Sharapova's new shoulder and Kim Clijsters' new baby.

All are doing well so far in the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, with the two former No. 1s making it through the second round yesterday at the Rexall Centre.

Sharapova, who has played on and off since May, was mistake-prone, but defeated Sybille Bammer of Austria 6-3, 7-6 (5).

Clijsters finished very strong to down ninth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

Sharapova, who committed 17 double faults to Bammer's four, now meets fellow Russian and tournament seventh-seed Vera Zvonareva.

"There are a few things in each tournament I've tried to improve on," Sharapova said. "There's only so much you can do coming off surgery. I have to be smart, I have a long career ahead of me."

Clijsters' next foe is No. 5 seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia. The Belgian Clijsters gave birth to daughter Jade Ellie in early 2008. But she had an itch to return and after a long stint "to burn the fat", she started in Cincinnati last week.

"Getting the endurance back was the main thing," said Clijsters, who said she never had worked out so hard, even as a teen player.

"Six days a week and then Sunday was a recovery day."

For the love of tennis

The Rexall Centre, which can hold 12,500, looked to be no more than half full in yesterday's morning/matinee sessions, but the appearance of Serena Williams pushed it to three quarters capacity last night. Official figures up to yesterday morning were 62,766 spectators since Sunday.

Happy motoring

Aravane Rezai, who caught everyone's attention yesterday afternoon by upsetting No. 1 Dinara Safina, is coached by her father Arsalan, a former car mechanic.


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