The psychological factor probably worked against third seed Simona Halep as she suffered her second loss to a player, who had upset her in last year’s US Open. Croat veteran 33-year old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who made waves 15 years ago caused an earthquake on Court Suzanne Lenglen at Roland Garros on Wednesday by knocking Halep out of the tournament. In other major results, 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer and women’s defending champion Maria Sharapova eased into the third round. Other seeded stars, who crossed over to third round were; Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils, Carla Suarez Navarro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Tomas Berdych. Apart from Simona Halep, four men’s seed made their exit from this year’s French Open They include; no. 19 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, no.24 Ernests Gulbis, no.28 Fabio Fognini and no.32 Fernando Verdasco.
In three Grand Slams, where they faced each other, it was the second time that Mirjana Lucic-Baroni has beaten Simona Halep. The third seeded Halep was the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2014 and she must have been planning to go beyond that achievement this year. But the 33-year-old Croat, ranked 70th in the world, had other ideas. Fresh from her latest upset of Halep at New-York in last September’s US open, Lucic-Baroni knew that the defeat at Flushing Meadow would play in Halep’s mind. Just as the match began, Lucic-Baroni began with some scorching and powerfully executed strokes. Halep had to fight against the comeback queen, who played with the likes of Steffi Graf and Monica Seles in her heydays. It was in 1999 that Lucic-Baroni had made her debut at Roland Garros and after 2001, this victory over Halep takes her to the third round for the first time. On Wednesday, her aggressive shot-making resulted in 27 winners to just 5 from Halep in her 7-5, 6-1 victory over the world no.3 from Romania. As a 17-year old, Lucic-Baroni had made it to the semifinals of 1999 Wimbledon, where she lost to the great Steffi Graf.
In other matches of fourth day, women’s reigning champion Maria Sharapova outplayed world no.91 and fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko 6-3 6-1 in an hour and 21 minutes. Sharapova’s third round opponent will be 2010 French Open finalist Samantha Stosur. The Australian crushed French wild card Amandine Hesse 6-0, 6-1 in the second round. 2009 men’s champion and world no.2 Roger Federer recovered from a break down in the second set before overcoming Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-2, 7-6, 6-3.
Federer’s compatriot, 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic; Japan’s no.5 seed Kei Nishikori defeated Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci 7-5, 6-4, 6-4; French 12th seed Gilles Simon beat Slovakia’s Martin Klizan 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 and 14th-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got past Israel’s Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych played against compatriot Radek Stepanek and reached third round with a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 win. Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro made it to the next round because her opponent French wild-card Virginie Razzano retired with the score reading 6-3, 1-0 in Navarro’s favor. Frenchman Gael Monfils was given a torrid time by world no.62 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina before winning in five sets 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
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