Defending women’s champion Serena Williams played wretched tennis in her second round match against Garbine Muguruza on Wednesday to crash out of French Open. Serena’s defeat implies that in just four days play at the Grand Slam tournament in Paris, the top two women’s seeds are out of the fray in 2014. On Tuesday, it was Li Na, who lost in her first round match against Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic. Other seeded players, who lost on Wednesday included; no.12 seed Italian Flavia Pennetta, no.20 seed Alize Cornet, no.29 Venus Williams, men’s no.15 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia and no. 20 Alexander Dolopolov of Ukraine .
Of everyone else, Serena’s loss made more news since the lady is feared by most of the top women tennis players. Worst, it was a woeful 2-6, 2-6 straight sets loss for the defending champion against a low-ranked player from Spain. Muguruza’s name came to be known in January this year, when she won in Hobart as a qualifier before progressing to the fourth round in the Australian Open. When Serena took to the Suzanne Lenglen Court on Wednesday against Muguruza, she began faltering on her first serves. Somehow, she lacked concentration and committed 29 unforced errors in just 16 games that were played. In contrast, the 20-year old Muguruza’s unforced errors were restricted to 18. The Spaniard grew up idolizing Serena from her childhood and it was a dream finish for her. When the organizers conducted the tournament draw, it became known that Serena will meet her sister Venus in the third round and both siblings were expected to keep their dates. But Venus too lost on Wednesday to world no. 56 Anna Schmiedlova from Slovakia on the Philippe Chatrier Court. Venus began by taking the first set from the 19-year old Slovak girl but Schmiedlova assumed control in second and third sets. In the final set, Venus managed to save two match points before Schmiedlova won on her third match point. With famous sisters out of Roland Garros, Muguruza and Schmiedlova will come face to face in the third round.
Italy’s no. 12 seed Flavia Pennetta lost to Sweden’s Johanna Larsson in a tough three-setter. Pennetta won the first set 7-5 but Larsson played brilliant tennis in the next two sets to take the match 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Another casuality was Germany’s Sabine Lisicki, runner-up at Wimbledon last year and seeded 16th at Roland Garros. Lisicki injured her wrist in the second set against compatriot Mona Barthel.
For the no. 1 player of France, Alize Cornet, the three-set loss against world no. 205 Taylor Townsend was totally unexpected. The little-know American played great tennis and matched her more famous counterpart, who had the entire Roland Garros crowd with her. In one of the best matches in the tournament so far, Townsend beat Cornet 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to set up the third round clash with Spain’s 14th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who managed to scrape though in her third-round match against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland with a score-line of 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.
Men’s 20th seeded player Alexander Dolopolov of Ukraine allowed a 2-set lead to slip in losing to Spain’s Marcel Granollers 1-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2. The flashy Dolgopolov later said that he had suffered an injury, which resulted in the downturn for him. In men’s second round matches the biggest upset was caused by the Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek, who ousted Russia’s 15th seeded player Mikhail Youzhny 6-0, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Women’s no. 7 seed Maria Sharapova also survived a first-set scare in her second round encounter with Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, before coming through 7-5, 6-2. The world no. 42 Bulgarian led 4-2 in the first set as Sharapova looked tense. But the former world no. 1, dug deep into her reserves to level the score 4-4, before taking the first set 7-5. In the latter stages of the first set, Pironkova kept clutching her hip at most times and finally called her physio for treatment. It was Sharapova’s game all the way after that.
The spectators at Roland Garros were pleased to see two of their countrymen easing into the third round. 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was comfortable in his 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory against Jurgen Melzer of Austria. The Frenchman is making his seventh appearance in Roland Garros and his next opponent is Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz, seeded the no.22 here. In his second round match, Janowicz defeated Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4. Another Frenchman who entered the third round on Wednesday was the 29th seed Gilles Simon, who defeated Colombia’s Alejandro Gonzalez 6-4, 6-0, 6-2. But Gilles has a tough third round opponent in Canadian Milos Raonic. Federer, Djokovic, Berdych, Gulbis, Robredo, Cibulkova, Kerber, Cilic and some other seeded players moved into the third round on Wednesday.
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