Following on from Kim Clijsters’ lead yesterday, some more of the much-fancied women’s stars fell today in cold, blustery conditions on the Roland Garros clay.
Whereas the number two seed fell yesterday, the top seed followed suit this afternoon as Caroline Wozniacki was trumped by Slovakian 28th seed Daniela Hantuchova.
Visibly struggling with her movement and service in front of a partisan crowd in her opponent’s favour, Wozniacki had dropped the first set 1-6 before she had even become accustomed to the conditions.
Again Hantuchova punished her sloppy play, and distinct lack of winners, as she raced in to a 4-0 lead in the second. But the Slovakian is well known for failing to close out such situations due to nerves and the 20-year-old Dane pulled it back to 4-3.
But if there is one thing you cannot question the world No.29 on it is her fight and she saw out the match to set up a fourth-round clash with former French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
“She played very, very well today, better than me for sure,” admitted the Dane. “She knew what she was going out there to do. She was just too good.”
But she refused to put the loss down to pressure continually heaped on her to win a maiden Grand Slam: “I don’t feel the pressure. The only one I feel pressure from is myself to go and give my all for every match and obviously I’m a competitor – I love winning. I don’t like losing.”
A tearful Hantuchova said: “I was very confident before the match because the last few weeks I think I was playing great tennis, and I was a little bit unlucky in a few matches.
“I knew it was just a matter of time. I have to say today was probably one of my best matches.”
Earlier in the day, the 2010 finalist Sam Stosur also crashed out as she went down to Argentina’s Gisela Dulko.
The Aussie star also seemed to struggle with her movement and the bounce of the much-lamented new balls as she went down 4-6, 6-1, 3-6 to the world No.51.
A flurry of unforced errors blighted her attempts to overpower Dulko who refused to baulk.
Stosur broke to go ahead in the third and many expected her to see the match out, but again she fell apart and allowed the Argentine to steal victory from under her nose.
Rampant German Julia Goerges also came unstuck today as she went down to local favourite Marion Bartoli. Bartoli has a reputation as a bit of a scrapper and it showed in her 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 comeback win.
Two seeds who did stick to the script, though, were defending Champion Francesca Schiavone and Jelena Jankovic.
Watching her rivals fall Schiavone may fancy a second-straight crown as Peng Shuai retired with breathing difficulties in their match, the Italian leading 6-3, 1-2 at the time.
Jankovic made easy work of the American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2, 6-2. Vera Zvonereva had similar luck, beating Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 6-3 in just 87 minutes.
In the men’s draw, third seed Roger Federer sent out a timely reminder of what he is capable of with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 dismantling of Janko Tipsarevic.
The first set lasted just 19 minutes and the 16-time Slam winner never looked back, taking the second in 39 minutes before cruising to a comfortable win.
“I’m very happy, really,” he said. “I thought that it would have been a lot more difficult. The first set was the key. That gave me confidence and it made him doubt his game plan.”
He will now play his countryman and friend Stanislas Wawrinka who completed a fantastic turnaround from two sets down to beat French favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five.
David Ferrer also cruised through in straights, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 against Sergiy Stakhovsky. He now faces Gael Monfils, who didn’t take too long either in beating the Belgian Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.